Rafael Nadal makes it eight French Open titles. (Associated Press)

Despite seven months away from competition because of a knee injury, Rafael Nadal continued his dominance in the French Open, winning his eighth singles title with a straight-sets victory over David Ferrer.

Nadal, who won, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, is 59-1 at Roland Garros. As befitting his lofty position, he only briefly celebrated by falling to the red clay. Since returning from his knee injury, Nadal has won seven of the nine tournaments in which he has played and lost in the finals of the other two. At 27, he now has 12 Grand Slam titles, tied with Roy Emerson for third behind Roger Federer (17) and Pete Sampras (14).

“That’s just amazing … That’s more than I can even dream about,” Nadal said in an interview with NBC’s John McEnroe, “but here we are today. [As a kid wanting to be a professional tennis player,] I never thought about something like this. I can’t say thank you enough to everyone who supported me throughout my career. Without them I would not be here today.”

Not even a shirtless, masked man who ran onto the court bearing a lighted flare could derail Nadal. Nor could rain. The knee injury was another matter, though. He admitted to having “some low moments” as he worked his way back and tried to find the right treatment. There were long stretches away from the game, he told McEnroe

“I tried a little bit.” he said. “I tried to go to the Olympics and I felt that I was not right. I tried to go to the U.S. Open and I felt that I was not right, so, in general, I didn’t practice.”

The man who interrupted the match ever so briefly was only a fleeting distraction for Nadal. “I felt a little bit scared in the first moment,” he told McEnroe. “These kinds of things are impossible to predict. When these sorts of things happen, we’re lucky to have very good security around.”

 

 

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