Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Rafael Nadal: Men's, women's tennis players should be paid based on viewership

Rafael Nadal: Men's, women's tennis players should be paid based on viewership

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts as he plays Austria's Dominic Thiem during the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Sunday, June 10, 2018 in Paris.

In his on-court speech after Nadal's 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory, the 24-year-old Thiem said: "I still remember when you won here the first time, 2005".

The 32-year-old world number one now has 17 Grand Slam titles, just three behind great rival Roger Federer.

Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - the so-called Big Four - have dominated the men's game to such a degree that Thiem is only the second player now younger than 28 to have reached a major singles final.

The now 17-time grand slam champion Nadal had a brief medical scare in the final set, but after Thiem saved four match points, a long return settled the Court Philippe Chatrier contest after two hours and 42 minutes.

Thiem was the only player to have defeated Nadal on clay prior to Roland Garros for the second straight year, and his quarterfinal victory over Nadal at the Madrid Masters snapped the Spaniard's 50-set winning streak on clay.

Nadal, in an on-court interview, also said he's sure that runner-up Thiem will win the tournament in "the next couple of years".

The world No. 1 went up 40-0 during Thiem's first service of the third set.

But Nadal roared into the 2017 Australian Open final, losing to Federer, then captured his record 10th French Open crown in June previous year, setting the stage for another title run in the Flushing Meadows fortnight at the US Open in September.

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He was serving in the fourth game when he went back to his chair and unwrapped strapping on his left wrist. For the last 14 years, he hasn't relented.

That scenario loomed again with Nadal going to 2-0 in the second set on a fifth break point as Thiem fired another backhand wide.

Nadal will be a big loss to the tournament if he opts to stay away, although fans will be able to see Federer in action again.

"Winning 11 times is definitely one of the best things somebody ever achieved in sport".

Meanwhile, Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won the men's doubles title, while Barbora Krejčiková and Kateřina Siniaková of the Czech Republic claimed the women's doubles title.

Thiem was hampered by his many unforced errors after long rallies.

Nadal's French Open win means that the Spaniard and Federer have won the last six men's Grand Slam titles despite being in their 30s. That did not stop him from taking the sixth game after some treatment. Only Thiem's 2016 victory over Nadal in Buenos Aires was a success on non-quick clay.

Now, Nadal's coach Carlos Moya has suggested that a strong start on Sunday against Dominic Thiem in the final would help. 'He's feeling a bit insecure maybe at the beginning and once he gets ahead in the match his confidence comes back', Moya said.

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