Playing some of the finest tennis of his remarkable career, Rafael Nadal has thumped Tomas Berdych in straight sets to claim a coveted second Wimbledon crown.
The world No.1 required just two hours, 13 minutes to clean up the giantkilling Czech 6-3 7-5 6-4 in blustery conditions at the All England Club on Sunday.
“I was a little bit more nervous than usual,” he said.
“But if you are not nervous in the final of Wimbledon, you are not human!”
Nadal’s victory earned him an eighth career major, elevating the Spaniard to equal-seventh on the all-time grand slam title leaderboard with legends Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ken Rosewall, Ivan Lendl and Fred Perry.
Only Roger Federer (16), Pete Sampras (14), Roy Emerson (12), Bjorn Borg (11), Rod Laver (11) and Bill Tilden (10) have more.
Frighteningly for his rivals, though, Nadal – who only turned 24 last month – has two more slams in his trophy cabinet than the great Federer had at the very same age.
Who knows how many more the Majorcan marvel may wind up with.
Nadal’s latest conquest completed a near-flawless summer in which he also harvested a fifth French Open title during a stunning undefeated European claycourt campaign.
Two years ago, Nadal became the first man since Borg in 1980 to achieve the French Open-Wimbledon double – and now he’s done it twice.
Federer last year – when tendinitis in both knees cruelly prevented Nadal from defending his his crown at the All England Club – and Laver during the Australian’s famous calendar-year grand slam in 1969 are the only other men in the professional era to have made the triumphant transition from clay to grass.
“For sure it is difficult to play well on grass after winning in Roland Garros,” he said.
“It is important to have the movement on grass and I move well on this court. That’s a very important part of the game.
“Sure my serve has improved a little bit and it is important to play more aggressive here than on the rest of the surfaces. But the main thing is to really want to improve on every surface.”
Nadal’s amazing Wimbledon display prompted John McEnroe to ask: “How in the world can you beat this guy?”
Contesting his maiden grand slam final, Berdych was hoping to become the first Czech man to win Wimbledon since Jan Kodes in 1973.
The 196cm powerhouse had already ousted six-time champion Federer in the quarter-finals and world No.3 Novak Djokovic in the semis.
Berdych, though, simply was unable to cope with the most ferocious shot in tennis – Nadal’s sledgehammer forehand.
Nadal took the opening set un 34 minutes after breaking Berdych’s big serve in the seventh and ninth games.
Under immense pressure, the Czech’s serve crumbled while trying to stay in the second set, dropping it to love in the 12th game.
Two sets to love up, Nadal was never going to relent.
The only time in his career he’d relinquished such a huge advantage came against Federer in the Miami final in 2005.
Nadal almost inevitably clinched victory with a wonderful crosscourt forehand pass.
Fittingly, the first final not involving Federer since Lleyton Hewitt beat David Nalbandian in 2002, featured the only two players to have conquered the mighty Swiss at Wimbledon in the ensuing eight years.
“It is more than a dream for me,” Nadal said.
“After the difficult year last year – it was probably one of the toughest moments in my career – to have this trophy back in my hands is more than a dream.”
With Nadal also suffering through the breakdown of his parents’ marriage, Nadal admitted he could barely watch Wimbledon last year.
“I saw the whole of the final and a bit of a quarter-final, but not much,” he said.
“This wasn’t an easy time for me with my knees and there were a few problems at home, too.”
Berdych said he was optimistic about the future and would learn from the experience.
“It was a great two weeks for me. He was really strong. He has showed in the last few months that he is a real champion and he deserved to win,” Berdych said.
“I hope it gives me extra confidence and power to come next year. Who knows what will happen in the future.”