With 11th French, Nadal not obsessed with Federer’s 20 Slams

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PARIS (AP) Rafael Nadal’s 11th French Open title raised his Grand Slam trophy count to 17, three away from the men’s record held by Roger Federer.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Nadal is fixated on catching his rival.

“Of course I would love to have 20, like Roger, in the future – or even more,” Nadal said Sunday evening after beating Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in the final at Roland Garros, “but being honest, (it’s) something that is not in my mind.”

He added that it’s not an “obsession.”

“Let me enjoy this title,” Nadal said. “I can’t be always thinking of more. Of course, I have ambition. Of course, I have passion for what I am doing. But I never have been crazy about all this kind of stuff. No, you can’t be frustrated always if somebody has more money than you, if somebody have a bigger house than you, if somebody have more Grand Slams than you. You can’t live with that feeling, no?”

Nadal’s uncle, Toni, who used to also be his coach, attended Sunday’s match and was asked afterward whether Rafael can pull even with Federer.

“I want to think that is possible,” Toni said. “But I know (that) maybe in one month, Federer will win again Wimbledon.”

Federer, of course, sat out the French Open to rest and prepare for the grass-court season. He did the same a year ago, and then went on to claim his record eighth championship at the All England Club, where play begins July 2.

The only man with more titles at a single major is Nadal in Paris. He is now 86-2 at the French Open – and, by the looks of things, as good as ever at the place.

Here are other things we learned at the 2018 French Open:

HALEP CAN WIN THE BIG ONE

After losing her first three Grand Slam finals, Simona Halep added major championship No. 1 to her No. 1 ranking by coming back to defeat Sloane Stephens in three sets. Halep kept insisting she needed to do it, and could do it – and she was correct. “Now she can relax, go out there, let her game go,” said her coach, Darren Cahill.

SERENA STILL SUPERB

At her first major in 16 months, and first as a mother, Serena Williams showed with three victories that she still has the game and the grit to go far and – even at age 36 – could be a threat to add to her 23 major titles. She withdrew from the field before her much-anticipated fourth-rounder against Maria Sharapova, citing a chest muscle injury, so it’s not clear whether Williams will be someone to watch at Wimbledon.

NOT THEIR TIME YET

Runner-up Thiem, a 24-year-old from Austria, might very well be the second-best player on clay in the world, but there’s still a large gap, at least at Roland Garros, where he is 0-3 against Nadal. Thiem and the man he beat in the quarterfinals, 21-year-old Alexander Zverev of Germany, are the two most well-rounded rising stars in the game. The question is when each will be ready for the next step.

AMERICAN WOMEN

Before her loss to Halep, Stephens, 25, eliminated Madison Keys, 23, in the first all-American semifinal at the French Open since 2002, when Williams defeated Jennifer Capriati. “All in all,” Stephens said, “I don’t think anyone can complain.” It was also a rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, in which Stephens topped Keys. For all the hand-wringing in years past over what would happen to U.S. women’s tennis after the Williams sisters, they seem to be in pretty good shape. Plus, consider this: Coco Gauff, a 14-year-old from Florida, beat Caty McNally, a 16-year-old from Ohio, in the junior final, the fourth time at the last five Grand Slam tournaments that two Americans played each other for the girls’ title.

DON’T LEAVE!

One important lesson from this French Open: If you fail to make it out of qualifying, do not skip town. Thanks to a new rule that awards some prize money to players making late injury withdrawals, more than a half-dozen men got into the draw as a “lucky loser” to replace those who pulled out. None of the beneficiaries was more celebrated than 190th-ranked Marco Trungelliti. He headed home to Barcelona after being beaten in qualifying, then learned he could sign up for a spot in the field. So he made the 10-hour drive back to Paris with his 88-year-old grandmother, mother and younger brother in a rental car, then went out and won in the first round.

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

More AP tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

Chardy beats Paire in all-French battle in Hamburg

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HAMBURG, Germany (AP) Jeremy Chardy needed five match points to beat fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire and reach the second round of the Hamburg European Open on Monday.

Chardy finally converted match point to win 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-3 against Paire, who at 28th in the world is ranked 49 places higher. The fifth-seeded Paire struggled on serve in the deciding set, racking up six double faults and only one ace.

Chardy next plays either fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet or Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal.

Eighth-seeded Christian Garin had reached the final in three of his last seven clay-court tournaments but was beaten 6-4, 7-6 (5) by Andrey Rublev.

Marton Fucsovics defeated German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-0, and Martin Klizan dismissed wild card Daniel Altmaier 6-2, 6-2.

More AP tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

3-time Grand Slam doubles winner Peter McNamara dies at 64

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Peter McNamara, an Australian tennis player who won three Grand Slam doubles titles and reached a highest singles ranking of No. 7, has died. He was 64.

His death at his home in Germany from prostate cancer was confirmed by David Law, a family friend and tennis commentator, on behalf of McNamara’s wife Petra.

McNamara formed a successful partnership with compatriot Paul McNamee to win the Wimbledon doubles title in 1980 and 1982 and the Australian Open title in 1979.

The right-hander also won five singles titles, reaching the Australian Open singles semifinals in 1980, the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 1981 and the last eight at the 1982 French Open.

After his retirement in 1987 McNamara became a successful coach, working with Mark Philippoussis, Grigor Dimitrov and more recently rising women’s star Wang Qiang of China.