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Nadal Wins Battle For No. 1; Historic Ninth Roland Garros Crown

Paris, France

Nadal© Getty ImagesAn emotional Rafael Nadal holds onto No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings with his 14th Grand Slam championship title

Rafael Nadal will start his 139th week at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday after he captured a historic fifth straight – and ninth overall – Roland Garros title.

Nadal temporarily ended Novak Djokovic’s hopes of returning to the summit of men’s professional tennis for the first time since 6 October 2013 with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 victory in Sunday’s clay-court final.

“It was very important for me to win that second set,” said Nadal. “Without that second set, I don't know if I would have this trophy with me now."

The 28-year-old Nadal draws level with Pete Sampras at No. 2 in the Grand Slam title-leaders list on 14 major crowns. He is now three Grand Slam trophies behind Roger Federer, who has 17.

“Federer has 17 and I have [won] 14 Grand Slams," said Nadal. "[Breaking the record], it's not a source of motivation for me. I'll follow my own path. Then when my career is over, we'll count. I don't really care that much about the records. I'll still play with a lot of intensity. I'll still be motivated.

“To me, winning is the result, the equivalent of lots of effort. Therefore, I feel more serene and personally I'm very satisfied.”

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The Spaniard received a €1,650,000 first-prize after he became the first man in tennis history to win nine titles at a single major championship. He has a 14-6 record overall in Grand Slam finals. 

Djokovic had been attempting to complete a career Grand Slam with his first Roland Garros crown. He also finished as runner-up to Nadal in the 2012 title-match. 

“Obviously his records speak for themselves,” said Djokovic. “He has won this tournament now nine times. It's very impressive… He has lost only once in his career on centre court. It's definitely not easy best of five to play against him in these conditions.”

Nadal has a 66-1 record at Roland Garros, where he is 35-matches unbeaten. His only loss on Parisian clay came against Robin Soderling in the 2009 fourth round.

The Mallorcan has a 90-1 win-loss record in best-of-five-set matches on clay courts. He has now won 64 tour-level titles – 45 of which have come on clay courts - and is only two red dirt titles behind all-time leader Guillermo Vilas (46).

Djokovic received a long standing ovation during the trophy ceremony. He admitted, “It was fantastic. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play here."

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