Rafael Nadal pulls out of Queen's: Is the Wimbledon title dream over?

But for Rafael Nadal, plagued by injuries and forced out of tennis's limelight over the past few seasons, Sunday's victory at Roland Garros was "unique".

Defeat by Austria's Dominic Thiem in Rome was a minor blip as Nadal went on to enjoy total domination at Roland Garros, emulating his 2008 and 2010 titles when he did not drop a set.

Despite a 15-3 career record against Wawrinka, and an imperious run to the final over the last two weeks, Nadal still had questions to answer heading into the final. He has lost only 35 games in seven matches.

Only Australia's Margaret Court has more victories at a single Grand Slam tournament, with 11 Australian Open wins between 1960 and 1973. "The nerves, the adrenaline, I feel on the court are impossible to compare to another feeling".

"When compared to a year ago, when he [Djokovic] held all four Grand Slams, he's in a relatively hard situation", Federer said at a news conference.

Nadal, who has been beset by injury issues during those intervening years, believes it is the way that he responds to adversity that has enabled him to reach such heights.

"Without my uncle I would not have won 10 trophies", said Nadal who will rise to two in the world rankings on Monday.

The Spaniard has admitted that that, however, it's been quite some time since he played a good Wimbledon. "It will always be in my heart".

Despite Nadal's absence, a high-quality field remains. "So I expect to see a strong Djokovic in the future".

"When you play against Rafa, if you hesitate, it's no good".

Once Hollywood A-lister Nicole Kidman had helped unbox the Coupe des Mousquetaires to a crowd already wilting in 30-degree heat, the final was underway.

Since winning his maiden title on his debut in 2005, Nadal has only failed to take home the trophy on three occasions - in 2009 when he lost to Robin Soderling, in 2015 when he was beaten by Novak Djokovic and a year ago when he had to pull out because of a wrist injury. It's not the first time he takes a similar decision: also in 2013 he had skipped Halle before Wimbledon.

Despite having spent more than five hours on court getting to the final, 2015 champion Wawrinka had the first break point in the third game.

  • Julie Sanders