Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal outperformed world number one Novak Djokovic in the final of the Italian Open on Sunday to win his 10th title at Rome. Ending his 21 month Masters title drought, the world number three won the game 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 in an enthralling 2hr 49mins duel spanning 3 sets. This was the pair’s 57th ATP level meeting, with this being the ninth meeting in the Italian Open. The rivalry between the two giants has been very significant, especially in Rome. They have combined won 14 out of the last 16 titles since 2005.
The game began with both dropping serve early in the engrossing opening set lasting for around 74 minutes. The Spaniard trailed the game by 0-2, but bounced back to level at 2-2. The duo eventually made it to a deadlock at 5-5, with a mediocre service by the Serbian allowing Nadal to get hold of the game, getting ahead with his signature backhand shot. This triumph marked his 36th ATP 1000 Masters title, equaling the tally with the World No.1.
After winning the Italian Open, Nadal spoke about the importance of the event. He said, “I really wanted this title. This had been one of the most important titles in my career. I’d won 10 in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros and really wanted it here too.”
Following this victory in the Italian Open, Rafael Nadal has now won 10 or more titles at a single event for the record fourth time, winning Roland Garros (13), Barcelona (12), and Monte Carlo (11). The 34-year-old Spaniard reportedly won €245,085 for winning the Italian Open, which is said to have been increased nearly 20% from what it had been in the previous year. Earlier this year, Nadal won Barcelona Open. The prize money of the Barcelona Open was reported to be somewhere around €179K, which saw a 64.4% dip to what it was in 2019. The Spanish legend has earned $124.5 million throughout his professional career since 2001 while winning 88 singles career titles.