Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after defeating Serbia's Novak Djokovic in their final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Sunday, June 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after defeating Serbia's Novak Djokovic in their final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Sunday, June 8, 2014
At the French Open, It's Rafael Nadal and then everybody else.
That was the case again on Sunday, when Nadal beat No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 to win his ninth French Open, making it 14 Grand Slams for Nadal, tying him with Pete Sampras for second all-time.
It wasn't the sharpest of matches from the start, with Djokovic breaking Nadal in the opening set and then serving out to snag the first set from the man that has only lost once ever at Roland Garros. The second set went Nadal's way, and after an impressive third set, it looked all but over for Djokovic.
But the man searching for his own milestone on Sunday, with a win completing his career Grand Slam, battled back after an early Nadal break in the fourth, getting things back on serve after Nadal hit a weak forehand in the net and then looked to grab his back in pain.
The battle back by Novak was great, but the theme of the day at the French Open was nerves, and it was Djokovic who was facing a match point on his own serve when a bad toss seemed to rattle him, only to hit his second serve long and hand the match to Nadal.
It's now that we can look at the rest of Nadal's career and imagine him not only catching the 17 Grand Slams wins for Roger Federer, but possibly passing him if he can continue his dominance on clay.
Nadal has now made the finals in four of his last five Grand Slam starts, winning three and proving that after injury disrupted the end of his 2012 and the start of '13, he's better than ever and he might just be the man to beat at Wimbledon if he can avoid a third-straight early exit on grass.
For now, it's Nadal's world and no matter who matches up against him on clay or what opponent pushes him early, this surface was made for this man and he could conceivably win three more of these championships before his career is over.