Nadal dominates at French Open, and the Warriors and Celtics are tied in the playoffs
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
It was a full sports weekend from big international soccer matches to tennis to basketball. We're going to focus on the last two. At the French Open, Rafael Nadal won another singles title. That extended his record number of Grand Slam championships to 22. But first, to the NBA finals. Last night, the Golden State Warriors dominated at the Boston Celtics and tied their series at one game apiece. NPR's Tom Goldman joins me to discuss all this. Good morning, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Leila.
FADEL: There was talk the Warriors were in trouble after giving up a big lead at home and losing to Boston in the first game. I take it those concerns have gone away.
GOLDMAN: Yeah, they have for now. The favored Warriors won last night, 107-88. They broke open a close game in the third quarter like they did in Game 1. But this time, the Celtics couldn't stage a dramatic comeback, thanks to a patented Golden State deluge of three-point shots and great defense. The series is tied up. Who knows what's next? These playoffs have been really unpredictable, and I predict that will continue.
FADEL: OK. Let's talk about tennis now. Over the last 15-plus years, Rafael Nadal winning the French Open is one of sport's great certainties. And he did it again yesterday, title No. 14. how?
GOLDMAN: With great ease - 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 over a young Norwegian named Casper Ruud. Now, Ruud actually led 3-1 in the second set, but that's when Nadal said, see you later, Casper, and he won the last 11 games of the match. He has now played in a record 14 French Open finals - won them all. That, Leila, is certainty. But afterwards, the 36-year-old Nadal revealed how he was able to storm through yesterday and the entire two-week tournament with pain injections for an ailing foot that's been hampering him for months and not going away. Nadal said doctors are going to try a more advanced procedure this week to try to solve the problem. And if that doesn't work, he's got big decisions to make about his future.
FADEL: Wow. Well, Wimbledon starts three weeks from today. It's the most famous Grand Slam tournament. Nadal has won his first two Grand Slams this year. And tennis fans would love to see him win all four. Will he play Wimbledon?
GOLDMAN: You know, it depends on that upcoming foot procedure and whether it resolves things enough so he doesn't have to have a numbing shot before each match. He knows that's a risk. If he can't feel anything in his foot, it could mask more severe injuries. He spoke yesterday about playing at Wimbledon. Here he is.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
RAFAEL NADAL: If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes; to play with anesthetic injections, no. I don't want to put myself in that position again. Can happen once, but it's not a philosophy of life that I want to follow.
FADEL: Now, Tom, in the women's French Open final on Saturday, a 21-year-old from Poland beat an 18-year-old American. Are we seeing the future of women's tennis?
GOLDMAN: You know, we might be, and if so, it looks very bright. It took Iga Swiatek just over an hour to beat Coco Gauff in the final. Swiatek from Poland is hot right now. She's won 35 straight matches. She's dominating the women's game. But Gauff has now made it to her first Grand Slam final. She brings a great game and a wonderful maturity. Both she and Swiatek are impressive young women. They entertain us with their tennis and, while they have our attention, remind us of our fraught world. Swiatek wears a ribbon on her hat with the Ukrainian flag colors. And in her remarks after winning Saturday, she urged Ukrainians to stay strong. Gauff has been outspoken about social issues in this country, including gun violence. So it's going to be fun to watch these two blossom as players and people.
FADEL: That's NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman. Thank you, Tom.
GOLDMAN: You're welcome.
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