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'It's very special,' says Rafael Nadal on historic French Open title

 Rafael Nadal defeated Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in the final to win his 12th French Open title

Rafael Nadal wins 12th French Open title

Rafael Nadal swept to a historic 12th Roland Garros title and 18th Grand Slam crown on Sunday with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Austria's Dominic Thiem. 

"I want to say congratulations to Dominic. I feel sorry as he deserves to win it as well," said Nadal.

"But he has every chance in the future. He has an unbelievable talent for the sport and I want to encourage him for the future.

(Photograph:AFP)

Rafa's record-stretching win

Nadal becomes the first player, man or woman, to win the same Slam 12 times after seeing off a brave challenge from a weary Thiem in a repeat of 2018 final. 

"It's a dream to win again, an incredible moment. When I first played here in 2005 I never thought I would be still playing here in 2019.

"It's very special for me."

(Photograph:AFP)

Look to break Roger Federer's record

Nadal is now just two behind Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 majors and three ahead of Novak Djokovic who was knocked out by Thiem in the semi-finals.

(Photograph:AFP)

Astonishing Paris record

The world number two also took his Paris record to an astonishing 93 wins and just two losses having previously won the title in 2005-2008, 2010-2014, 2017 and 2018.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Nadal's 82nd career title

It also gave Nadal an 82nd career title and 950th match win.

"It's very tough. I gave everything these last two weeks," said Thiem, who had seven fewer winners and seven more unforced errors in the final.

Thiem also congratulated Nadal after the win. 

"Rafa, well done. You are an amazing champion and a legend in our sport.

"I am happy that you are playing. To win 12 times, it's unreal. I will try again, for sure."

(Photograph:AFP)

Not an easy win for Rafa

It was not an easy win as Nadal was pushed perhaps as hard as he has ever been in a final in the first two brutal sets. But Thiem, who played sensational tennis for nearly two hours, could not sustain the pace and Nadal charged away to victory.

(Photograph:Reuters)