‘I all the time contemplate myself a really regular man. If I did it, possibly anyone else can,’ Rafael Nadal says of his French Open document


For one athlete to have a lot success at a single occasion is wholly unprecedented, whereas Nadal has additionally set himself aside from Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic by successful 22 grand slam titles to his rivals’ 20.

“There isn’t any phrase to explain this feat,” Federer’s coach Ivan Ljubicic said after the Spaniard’s straight units victory towards Casper Ruud in Sunday’s French Open ultimate.

“Do not suppose good outdated Phillippe (Chatrier) would thoughts if his court docket modifications the title to Rafael Nadal — (a) statue shouldn’t be sufficient.”

However Nadal, all the time desirous to understate his achievements, thinks his document at Roland Garros might someday be bettered.

“I all the time contemplate myself a really regular man, so if I did it, possibly anyone else can do it,” he advised CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

“It is apparent the document of 22 grand slams is one thing way more attainable that anyone can enhance that document. I’m positive that is going to occur; 14 Roland Garros is one thing … very troublesome.”

Within the 17 years between Nadal’s first and most up-to-date French Open titles, he has misplaced simply three matches on the Paris clay — two towards Djokovic, together with within the semifinals final yr, and one towards Robin Soderling.

Sunday’s win noticed Nadal, who turned 36 on Friday, turn into the oldest males’s champion at Roland Garros, and it was additionally the primary time he has received each the Australian Open and French Open in the identical calendar yr to take him away from Federer and Djokovic’s grand slam tallies.

“After all, I need to be the participant with (most) grand slams in historical past — that is competitors,” mentioned Nadal.

“However it’s not one thing that I’m obsessed (with) and it is not one thing that modified my thoughts … Actually, it is one thing that doesn’t trouble me if Novak wins 23 and I stick with 22. I believe my happiness won’t change in any respect, not even one p.c.”

Taking part in whereas injured

Occasions main as much as this yr’s French Open are more likely to make this title appear significantly particular — not least unbelievable — to Nadal.

Eventually month’s Italian Open, he bowed out of the event towards Denis Shapovalov within the final 16 whereas battling a foot damage — an ongoing downside that Nadal mentioned required every day injections on the French Open to be able to hold taking part in and coaching.

It meant he performed the ultimate with none feeling in his foot.

“After the pandemic, one thing occurred in my foot. I’m not in a position to handle the ache to play typically and even follow,” mentioned Nadal, who has been beset by damage issues all through his profession.

“The one factor I can say goes by means of all these challenges, I all the time maintain the fervour to maintain going and I all the time maintain the love for the sport,” he added. “I all the time wished to maintain going. That is in all probability why I’m within the place that I’m right this moment.”

Nadal holds aloft La Coupe des Mousquetaires (The Musketeers' Trophy) at Roland Garros.

In Sunday’s press convention, Nadal mentioned he would bear “radio frequency injection” on the nerve in his foot in a bid to ease the ache and proceed taking part in.

Whether or not he competes at Wimbledon later this month will depend on the success of that therapy, and for now, his long-term future within the sport is unclear.

“I by no means had in my thoughts (plans) to announce any retirement after this occasion, however after all, there’s a chance that issues should not bettering,” he mentioned. “Then I do not know what can occur.”

Is the ‘King of Clay’ now simply ‘The King’?

Successful the primary two grand slams of the yr means Nadal, for the primary time in his profession, can probably win a calendar grand slam by triumphing at Wimbledon and the US Open.

It is a feat Djokovic got here one recreation away from finishing final yr, and one no male participant has achieved since Rod Laver in 1969.

“The probabilities are small on this well being scenario,” tennis journalist Christopher Clarey advised CNN Sport’s Christina Macfarlane on Monday concerning the probability of Nadal triumphing on the subsequent two grand slam tournaments.

“Wimbledon shouldn’t be his finest floor anymore; it has been some time since he received. However how are you going to not strive for that if you happen to’re wholesome?”

Nadal plays a forehand against Ruud in the French Open final.

Even when he doesn’t add to his grand slam tally, it is going to be unattainable to ever query Nadal’s standing as one of many best to play the sport. And in time, “the King of Clay” could also be remembered merely as “the King.”

“I achieved my dream and I take pleasure in what I’m doing,” mentioned Nadal, who stays unconcerned about how he ranks amongst his friends.

“I do know the press and individuals are all the time caring loads about these things, however ultimately, I’m an necessary a part of the historical past of the game and that makes me really feel proud and comfortable.

“On the finish, it does not matter a lot.”





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