Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Tennis superstar Roger Federer on Sunday congratulated his "greatest rival" Rafael Nadal for matching his record of 20 Grand Slam titles after his victory in the French Open final.

Nadal won a record-extending 13th French Open title after beating his rival and world No.1 Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the final.

"I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion. As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players. Therefore, it is a true honor for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory," Federer said.

"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," he added.

Federer's tweet on Rafa victory won netizens heart who found it too cute. In less than 12 hours, his tweet has recieved over 112k retweets and mire than half a million likes.

Similarly on Facebook, where he shared the same message, the post has over 677k likes and 51k shares.

Nadal also scored his 100th win at the French Open, having lost just two matches since making his senior debut at Roland Garros in 2005. Regarded as the greatest player on clay court, Nadal won his first title at the French Open in 2005.

In the Sunday clash that lasted two hours and 42 minutes, Nadal served out the opening set with an ace, thus holding Djokovic, who was looking to become the first man in the Open Era to win all four Grand Slams twice. It was only 48 minutes into the match that Djokovic managed to win his first game.

The only shift in momentum in the match came in the last set when Djokovic matched Nadal step for step. It was a double fault that gave Nadal the chance to serve for the title, and he saw it through with relative ease.

This is the first time since the 2014 French Open that Nadal managed to beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam final. In major finals since then, Djokovic had beaten Nadal in a five-set thriller at the 2018 Wimbledon final and then the 2019 Australian Open final in straight sets.

(With agencies)

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