Spanish press salutes French Open finalists

The Spanish press were in raptures on Saturday as victories for Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer in Friday's French Open semi-finals set up a fourth all-Spanish men's singles final at Roland Garros on Sunday.

Spanish press salutes French Open finalists
Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

Madrid sports daily Marca dedicated the most coverage to the dual triumph hailing the two as "emperors" on their front page.

Inside they claimed that "Spain takes Paris" as Friday's wins continued a successful run of Spanish success in the French capital.

"In the 83rd international edition of the tournament, they will watch as another member of the Armada is crowned with the most valued clay court trophy," wrote Joan Solsona.

"Rafael Nadal, seven time French Open champion, aspires to be the first tennis player to have won the same Grand Slam on eight occasions.

"David Ferrer, his compatriot and friend, wants to begin his honours list in a city that brings his luck. It was in the Gallic capital where seven months ago he won his first Masters 1,000 event."

Unsurprisingly the focus was more on Nadal after his amazing 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3/7), 9-7 win over world number one Novak Djokovic in over four hours of gruelling tennis.

"Nadal, leader in stamina" continued Marca as they pointed out the 27-year-old's incredible 16-5 record in five-set matches, making him in percentage terms the most successful active player when forced to go the distance.

"Everything is an admirable barbarity with this man," said Alejandro Delmas in the other Madrid sports daily AS.

"Bathed in suffering, refusing to lose due to his survival instinct, Rafael Nadal will tomorrow play his eighth final at Roland Garros against David Ferrer, against the history of this sport called tennis and against all the honours of all the players that have played at Roland Garros since before the First World War," he added.

There was also praise for Ferrer at finally making it to a Grand Slam final at the age of 31 and after losing the previous five semi-finals.

However, there was also little doubt that Nadal will be the huge favourite on Sunday given his exceptional record against his countryman.

Nadal has won 19 of their 23 previous matches and has only been beaten once on clay by Ferrer, back in 2004 when Nadal was just 17-years-old.

"In the final on Sunday, Ferrer won't have to scale a wall, but a Himalayan mountain," Delmas concluded.

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IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca

Rafael Nadal married his partner of 14 years, Xisca Perello, at a castle in Mallorca on Saturday.

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca
Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

Nadal, the 19-time grand slam champion, tied the knot with 31-year-old Perello at La Fortaleza, with a reported 350 guests invited to a private ceremony.

Juan Carlos I, the king of Spain from 1975 to 2014, was believed to be among those in attendance while the Michelin-star chef, Quique Dacosta, was reportedly in charge of catering.

The newlyweds shared some official photos of the day through the Fundacion Rafa Nadal, the NGO the tennis player set up on Mallorca

Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal


Nadal, 33, met his wife through his younger sister Maribel, a childhood friend of Perello.

They started dating in 2005 when they were both teenagers after meeting several years before.

Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

The couple announced their engagement in January and revealed that the tennis ace had proposed on a romantic trip to Rome last May but chose to  keep the news private.


Perello, has always shunned the media spotlight although she has been pictured courtside at some of Nadal’s biggest matches.

Nadal kisses Perello after winning against France's Gael Monfils in the final tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco on April 17, 2016. 

But she isn't always there. In a 2011 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Perello explained: “He needs his space when he is competing, and just the idea of me hanging around and waiting on his needs all day tires me out.

“It would asphyxiate me. And then he would have to be worrying about me… No. If I followed him everywhere, I think there's a risk we might stop getting along.”

She works in insurance and is a business graduate but also serves as project director for the Rafa Nadal Foundation, the charity which Nadal launched almost ten years ago.

In an interview with sports newspaper Marca last year, the world number 2 hinted that he wouldn't be ready to start a family until he had retired from tennis. 

'I keep my commitment with tennis and my happiness', Nadal told Marca. 'I enjoy both in tennis and outside it. I have a girlfriend too and I am not alone to take decisions.

“Having family? I don't know, things are not easy to be predict. At this age, I thought that I would have already been a former player and that I would have started a family.”

READ ALSO: Rafa Nadal donates €1million to help victims of Mallorca floods