Whilst the majority of the crowd were Swiss fans, Rafael Nadal did not disappoint his own followers back home in Spain by taking his second straight French Open title to confirm his role as the one major contender to world number one Roger Federer.

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Nadal had been the hot favourite throughout the fortnight, and few were surprised to see the young Majorcan holding the trophy aloft just a year after his debut success at Roland Garros.

The only surprise was how easily he recovered from a set down to dominate the final and consign top seed Federer to the clay scrapheap for another year.

The French Open title is still the one Grand Slam that eludes the Swiss player, and he may never get a better chance to take it, after having convincingly won the first set in the final 6-1 to create the perfect platform for victory.


But a case of nerves, coupled with some imperious play from Nadal, proved to be Federer's downfall, and he must now realise that he will now probably never become only the third man in history to hold all four Grand Slams at the same time.

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That is no slight on the talent of the man, for that is undisputed, but to sustain such a high level of consistent performance over a year is rare to say the least, and to repeat the situation he found himself in two weeks ago will require an almighty effort.

Nadal, for his part, impressed over the last two weeks with his usual power and precision play, and he has surely now cemented his place as the best clay-court player of recent years, if not of all time.

But it must be remembered that Nadal is still a young man who has only just turned 20 years of age, making the feat of winning back-to-back titles even more impressive.


Just two questions remain of Nadal - how and when will his incredible winning streak on clay be broken, and can he transfer his success onto different surfaces?

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The answer to the first poser is impossible to answer, and its circumstantial nature will mean that he could just as easily lose his streak in the first game on the red stuff next season as he could go another year unbeaten.

Up until now, Federer has been able to succeed on all surfaces, but Nadal, at his tender age, is yet to convince. A big test awaits the youngster at Wimbledon later this month.


With all four top seeds making it to the semi-finals on the clay in Paris, the tournament went pretty much to form, although David Nalbandian's retirement through injury in his semi-final against Federer was disappointing, having cruised through the earlier stages of the draw.

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Ivan Ljubicic also impressed as he roared into the semi-finals, but the Croat still lacked what it took to pose any real problems to the big two.

In what was another disappointing clay tournament for the Americans, one ray of light shone brightly after the disappointing exit of number five seed Andy Roddick at the first hurdle.

James Blake proved that an American capable of succeeding on clay is not just a pipe dream, and the number eight seed impressed on his way to an eventual defeat at the hands of promising young Frenchman Gael Monfils.


But if the Americans were poorly represented in Paris, then Britain was practically non-existent.

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Andy Murray was once again hyped before the tournament started, and the Scot once again failed to live up to expectation on the court, crashing out in the first round to Monfils, as he complained yet again of an injury.

Greg Rusedski also fell at the first, whilst Tim Henman managed little better, although he at least managed to notch a victory before packing his bags and heading home.

Perhaps now the one great remaining British hope is, bizarrely, Novak Djokovic.

The Serbian-born youngster raised eyebrows as he made it through to the quarter-final before succumbing to Nadal, confessing on the way that he wants a British passport to help him further his career. Watch this space, but a Murray-Djokovic Davis Cup pairing is already a mouth-watering prospect for the future.

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Another chance to follow the best young talent on the tennis tour is just around the corner, with Wimbledon starting in just a few weeks, and with the quality displayed in Paris, the future is bright.

Follow all the action from the grass season right here on eurosport.com, as Queens Club gets underway on Monday!

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