Tennis

Rafael Nadal, 35, reaches 300 career Grand Slam match wins at French Open, ‘the most important tournament of the year for me’

Rafael Nadal, 35, reaches 300 career Grand Slam match wins at French Open, ‘the most important tournament of the year for me’
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PARIS — Rafael Nadal reached 300 career Grand Slam match victories by defeating Corentin Moutet 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in the second round at Roland Garros.

The only real blip for 13-time French Open champion Nadal on Wednesday night in Court Philippe Chatrier came near the end, when he was broken by the 139th-ranked Frenchman while serving for the match at 5-3. But Nadal broke right back to improve to 107-3 at Roland Garros.

In his post-match interview on the court, Nadal, 35, was a bit emotional and heartfelt. Rather than speak to the personal achievement, he took his opportunity to expound on how special tennis is once again with fans in the stands.

« It’s so important for world to see games, » he said. « The best events in the world with full crowds, that is so important for the players and for the fans and for the tournaments.

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« Thank you again for supporting our sport. »

Only Roger Federer, with 369, and Novak Djokovic, who collected his 325th earlier Wednesday, are ahead of Nadal on the men’s list for career wins at major tournaments.

Nadal has the most Grand Slam trophies for a man with 21. Federer and Djokovic both have 20.

« I’m just enjoying the fact that I’m back here, at Roland Garos, » Nadal said. « It’s the most important tournament of the year for me. »

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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