Rafael Nadal eyes world number one spot after winning record 10th French Open title

Nadal defeated Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets in Sunday's French Open final to win his 10th title at the Slam.

Rafael Nadal
Nadal became the first man in Open era to win 10 titles at a Slam Reuters

French Open champion Rafael Nadal believes he will be able to get back to top of ATP Rankings if he continues playing the way he has been this season. The 31-year-old became the first man in Open era to win 10 titles at a Slam when he won the Roland Garros 2017 title, beating Stanislas Wawrinka in the final on Sunday.

Nadal was up against the Swiss, who had a 3-0 record in Grand Slam finals until yesterday. However, on the big day, statistics mattered little as the Spaniard came up with yet another masterful performance to make light work of Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

Such was his dominance in Paris that he had not dropped a set and conceded only 34 games, which is second-best record after Bjorn Borg's 32 at 1978 French Open. By virtue of Sunday's win, Nadal has leapfrogged Novak Djokovic and Wawrinka to the second spot in ATP Rankings and is now 2650 points behind top-ranked Andy Murray.

It was a 15th Grand Slam win for Nadal, who now has moved ahead of Pete Sampras and trials Roger Federer by three major titles. The Spaniard maintained that it was not easy winning matches in straight sets and that his good form gave him the license to be more aggressive.

"Winning these kind of titles, then you have chances to become any number on the ranking. If I am able to keep playing well, why not [reach the world number one spot]?" Nadal, who last held the top spot in June 2014 said, as quoted by ATP's official website.

"You know, on paper, when you look at the scores, it all seems fairly easy. But it's not... I have been playing great during the whole event, since the beginning. So it was a perfect Roland Garros for me. It is not that I am playing more or less aggressive. I am playing well. And when you play well, you have the chance to play more aggressive."

The 15-time Grand Slam champion hailed his "magical" campaign in Paris and said the title was important as he has been working hard to get back to his best after injury concerns, that has troubled him in the recent past.

Nadal had not reached the final ever since he last won the title in 2014 in Paris. After woeful campaigns in 2015 and 2016, that were marred by injuries, not many would have imagined the Spaniard reigning supreme on the red dirt in Paris once again. However, he looked on top form since returning from an injury layoff, which led to an early end to his season, last year.

The Spaniard raced the final of Australian Open and finished as runner-up in Miami and Acapulco as well. However, Nadal started with his complete domination when he won the Monte Carlo Masters title after which he eased to two more titles on his favourite surface - Barcelona and Madrid.

"It happened 10 times here already. All the things that happened in this tournament for me have been magical. I am very happy for everything," Nadal added.

"Today was a very important day for me. There have been some tough moments and injuries, so it is great to have a big success like this again. I am happy because I have been working a lot to be where I am today.

"I am enjoying every week and I want to continue like this. I am going to try to keep working hard to enjoy more beautiful weeks."