TENNIS – Rafael Nadal won his 10th Italian Open with a 7-5 1-6 6-3 victory over world number one Novak Djokovic in Rome.
The 57th head-to-head between two of the top players turned out to be an enthralling final. Both players dropped their serve early in the first set, and nadal was unhappy when he slipped on the line in the seventh game.
Nadal regained his composure and finally secured the key break at 5-5, taking the first set 7-5.
Djokovic dominated the second set, with Nadal only managing a single game, taking the match into the decider.
Djokovic’s momentum ceased when he didn’t convert two break points in the fifth game of the decider. Then Nadal, after going 40-0 up in the next game, hit a scintillating backhand down the line to grab the crucial break.
Holding his serve for the rest of the match, he served out at 6-3 clinching the Italian Open title for the 10th time.
Nadal on retirement
“I had a very positive week and I’m very happy,” said 34-year-old Nadal. He will defend his French Open title at Roland Garros from 30th May.
During a recent interview with ‘Metro’, the man from Manacor reiterated his love for the game. “For the moment, I’m happy what I’m doing. I’m enjoying it and I hope to have the chance to keep around the tournaments for the next couple of years.”
He is, naturally, aware he cannot carry on playing in the top flight forever. “Of course, I will not be playing until the age of 45, no? I am always trying to do things as best as possible to play as long as possible. As everybody knows, of course it’s going to arrive one day that you cannot keep going.”