Rival and friend Roger Federer has congratulated Rafael Nadal for equalling his prized men's record haul of 20 Grand Slam singles titles after the Spaniard’s demolition of Novak Djokovic at the French Open.
While many predicted a close battle in tough conditions for Nadal, the Spaniard showed relentless aggression and determination to power past Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to claim a 13th French Open title and move level with Federer for the first time in his career.
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Federer, who has endured one of the greatest sporting rivalries ever with his friend Nadal, showed why he is loved around the world and graciously took to Twitter to congratulate the Spaniard.
"I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion," Federer, who already owned four grand slam titles when Nadal won his maiden French Open title in 2005, said on Twitter.
"As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players.
"Therefore it is a true honour for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory."
"It is especially amazing that he has won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times, which is one of the greatest achievements in sport. I also congratulate his team because nobody can do this alone," added Federer.
Nadal’s incredible French Open record
While fans were ready for a French Open classic in the final, Nadal showed why Roland Garros is considered his home.
Nadal inflicted one of the most humiliating defeats on his great rival, which had Djokovic looking bemused under the closed roof of Court Philippe Chatrier.
Nadal, 34, has lost only two matches at the French Open, racking up his 100th win on Sunday.
Federer turned 39 in August and missed the US and French Opens while recovering from an injury, but he has vowed to be back at the Australian Open next year.
"I hope 20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us," the Swiss added.
"Well done Rafa, you deserve it."
Nadal later responded to the message and thanked Federer in his post-match press conference for sending his praise.
“In some way, I think he is happy when I am winning and I am happy when he is doing the things well,” he said.
Djokovic, who has been tipped by so many to go past both Nadal and Federer, remains third on the list with 17 Grand Slam titles.
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