There was just one stat that remained the cynosure of the last fortnight in the tennis fraternity - Can Rafael Nadal equal Roger Federer's record for all-time Grand Slam tally? Two weekends later, the usual party resumed in Paris as Nadal lifted a record 13th French Open title at Stade Roland Garros and subsequently tie Federer's record. And moments after the "greatest achievement", Federer paid a heartfelt tribute to Nadal.
"I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion. Therefore it is a true honor for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory. It is especially amazing that he has now won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times, which is one of the greatest achievements in sport. I also congratulate his team, because nobody can do this alone. I hope 20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us. Well done, Rafa. You deserve it," Federer wrote on social media.
Nadal defeated world number one Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 at Court Philippe Chatrier to win the French Open for the 13th time, the most by any player, male or female, at a single tour-level event. With the win, he also tied Federer at the top in the all-time majors list. This is the first time since 5 July, 2003 that the two stand at the same position on the list. That was the day before Federer won his first major at the SW19.
While the number has been the only big factor in his another French Open haul, Nadal brushed aside the discussion.
"To win here means everything to me. Is not the moment—honestly, not for me I don't think today about the 20th or equal[ing] Roger on this great number," Nadal said. "For me today is just a Roland Garros victory, no? Roland Garros means everything to me. I spent here the most of the most important moments in my tennis career, no doubt about that. For me, just to play here is a true inspiration and the love story I have with this city and this court is unforgettable," he said.