At 31 years of age, and ranked number one in the world, Rafael Nadal has won his 11th Monte Carlo Masters in France.

The win comes after a spectacular match against Kei Nishikori of Japan. The match was played on clay, a long-time favourite of the Spaniard, but it seemed that the world number one struggled for the first few games, with a break of 2-1 to Nishikori. The Japanese player was unable to commit to the intensity however, with Nadal coming back to beat him with 6-3, 6-2 after an hour and a half, on a winning back-hand.

The defeat of Nishikori made Nadal the first man in the open era to win 11 Monte Carlo Masters. “It’s unbelievable,” Nadal said, pausing to take it in. “It’s something difficult to imagine.” The first masters win for Nadal was in 2005 at just 18 years-of-age.

Nadal had not played in the circuit since his surprising retirement in the quarter-final at the Australian Open this year, after a recurring hip injury. “I was just looking to relax,” Nadal said. “To hit some balls hard and to move the arm without nerves.” Since then has won the last 36 sets played, never conceding more than 4 games.

The Spanish player now has 76 single career titles as well as 11 doubles titles, and if that is not enough, he wins 92 percent of his games on clay court.