Special number 10 means so much to Nadal

No player has been as successful at Roland Garros as Rafael Nadal has, and both venue and fans have a special place in the heart of the man known as the King of Clay - who fans have now described as the God of Clay instead.

But he has responded this year by making the final of the Australian Open and dominating the clay court season, losing just one match to Dominic Thiem in Rome while sweeping to titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

Nadal hit surely the shot of the tournament in the sixth game, taking a fine Wawrinka backhand and lashing it down the line without even looking. "That's why he's winning so much again".

It is a first grand slam final defeat for the Swiss, who won the Australian Open in 2014, here two years ago and the US Open last summer.

Wawrinka, the French Open champion in 2015 when Nadal lost to Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, said the Spaniard had lived up to his expectations on Sunday.

In his speech after his tremendous victory, Rafael Nadal said " It's truly incredible", he further added "In this final, to win the Decima is very, very special.

"It's hard to compare with other tournaments but the nerves and adrenaline I feel, it's like no other place".

The 31-year-old star said "It's the most important event in my career without a doubt".

Nadal was joined on the presentation by his uncle Toni, his coach since boyhood, who is stepping down at the end of the year.

Nadal's win-loss record at the French Open, which he won in his debut in 2005, is a staggering 79-2.

He entered the final on an 11-match winning streak following his title in Geneva.

Having beaten world number one Andy Murray with a majestic display of power in the semi-final, third seed Wawrinka arrived full of confidence as, at 32, he tried to become the oldest French Open victor since Andres Gimeno in 1972.

A brief lull as the court staff watered down the red dust failed to extinguish Nadal's fire and, despite Wawrinka's best efforts to extend the contest, the final set was little more than a coronation for Paris's favourite Spaniard.

The 32-year-old couldn't take it and it proved to be the only break point he earned all afternoon.

It threatened to get embarrassing for the Swiss when Nadal, his forehands now as venomous as a viper, raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set.

Wawrinka insisted a five-set semifinal win Friday over No. 1-ranked Andy Murray did not take anything out of him physically.

  • Joanne Flowers