A wild and entertaining fortnight in Paris came to a close this past weekend as the tennis world put the 2019 French Open into the books. The two singles champions could not be more juxtaposed, as Rafael Nadal won at Roland Garros for a remarkable 12th time, while Australia’s Ashleigh Barty took home her first Grand Slam title.
After fighting back from down a set and 0-3 in the second set against young American Amanda Anisimova, the eighth-seeded Barty was unflinching in the title match against Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova as she won 6-1, 6-3.
“It’s been an incredible couple of weeks, that’s for sure,” said Barty. “I think any time I can play my brand of tennis, I know that I can match it against the best in the world. For the last fortnight, the stars have aligned for me. I have been able to play really good tennis when I’ve needed it.
This is just incredible. I never dreamt that I’d be sitting here with this trophy here at the French Open. I mean, obviously we have dreams and goals as children, but this is incredible.”
Barty is the first Australian to win a major since Samantha Stosur won the U.S. Open in 2011.
On Sunday, the King of Clay lived up to his nickname as Nadal downed Dominic Thiem for a second-straight year in the final, winning 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 for his 12th triumph in Paris and his 18th major title overall.
“I can’t explain what I’ve achieved and how I feel. It’s a dream,” said Nadal. “To play for the first time in 2005—I never thought in 2019 I’d still be here. It’s an incredible moment and very special for me.”
After Thiem broke late to win the second set, Nadal was relentless, committing just nine unforced errors over the final two sets.
“Being able, at this time in my career, to get another victory is obviously a great satisfaction and a great happiness,” said Nadal. “I thank all the people who support me, my family, my team for their great support, which I need, which is necessary for me.”