Roger Federer at Stuttgart Open 2018

Dean Simpson
June 13, 2018

The icon of the sport leads the field, with Frenchman Lucas Pouille second and his opening opponent was determined in the first match of the week as German Rudolf Molleker beat compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who gave the clay-court season a miss to focus on the grass swing, has revealed that he felt "bored" during the last few weeks. "Actually, when he won here the first four or five times, I was always watching it".

Not much more of a daunting task than doing so against Nadal at the French Open, where he is now 11-0 in finals and 86-2 overall.

It was early in his career when Nadal began his habit of biting the championship trophies he wins.

Nadal is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win 11 titles at three different tournaments, having also completed La Undécima at Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April this year.

When Thiem sent a return long on a fifth match point, Nadal raised his arms in celebration.

The number of consecutive sets won on clay by Nadal, breaking the previous record for most consecutive sets won on a single surface by McEnroe, who won 49 on carpet in 1984. I am happy that other people have things, and I am very satisfied, and I feel very lucky with all the things that happened it me.

Rafael Nadal winning his 11th title at Roland Garros on Sunday, June 10 marked the end of the clay-court swing this season.

Despite this, Nadal has insisted he is not actively pursuing his grand slam rival.

Thiem was considered the stiffest test for Nadal at the French Open, and understandably so. Roger knows how to play on this surface. I think the grass is better than in the past years.

"Physically, I enjoyed (it) more watching him on the couch", Thiem said with a smile. Of course, I have ambition, I have passion for what I am doing, but I never have been insane about all this kind of stuff.

"I have doubts every day but that's good as it makes me work hard with more intensity", said Nadal last year when he captured his 10th French Open, a year after his latest battle with a wrist injury forced him to withdraw from the tournament after two rounds.

"You can't be frustrated always if somebody has more money than you, if somebody has a bigger house than you, if somebody has more grand slams than you".

"I mean, it's a big goal for me to play, soon, another Slam final", Thiem said. "It was just awful misses". You can't live with that feeling, no?

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