Rafa Nadal reacts to winning French Open at Roland-Garros
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Rafael Nadal has been told he has achieved ‘the greatest sport achievement of any person in history’ by former British star John Lloyd. Alongside his great rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, Nadal has announced himself as arguably the greatest player to pick up a tennis racket.
The Nadal, Federer and Djokovic debate is one that often goes on around the world of sport – not just tennis – and whilst it is of course objective to say who the ‘greatest’ is, the Spaniard has no doubt strengthened his case this year by winning the Australian Open and French Open to move on to 22 Grand Slam titles, two more than his long-time Swiss and Serbian rivals.
His heroics this year are even more commendable when you put into perspective Nadal’s injury woes, which reportedly nearly called time on his career in late 2021. Despite being 36, and clearly struggling physically, the Spanish star continues to show why he is an all-time great – especially after his remarkable 14th French Open triumph earlier this month.
Following his recent heroics, ex-player Lloyd believes his achievements are not just the greatest seen in tennis, but in the history of sport combined. He told the BBC: “He’s a monster. It’s beyond belief. When he won this 14th French, I’d love people to write in and challenge me on this.
“I know we’re biased because it’s tennis but is there a greater performance by an individual in any sporting event to do what he’s achieved? Apart from the fact he’s won the most Slams, put that one away. You can argue people didn’t play and all that stuff. But 14 French Opens is I think the greatest sport achievement of any person in history.”
His 14th triumph on the Parisian clay in June was arguably one of his best, after blowing away Norwegian Casper Ruud in straight sets, a man 13 years younger than Nadal. As a result, Lloyd’s thoughts were similarly shared by another former star in Andrew Castle, who believes the Spaniard’s Roland Garros record is the greatest feat the sport has seen.
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He commented: “He’s only lost to two guys at the French Open ever. That was Novak Djokovic twice and Robin Soderling – people might remember him. Of all the statistics that have come out of this great era in tennis on the men’s side, in the locker room what stops people in their tracks the most is 14 French Opens for Rafa.”
Next on Nadal’s agenda is of course this month’s Wimbledon tournament, with the Spaniard looking to continue his hunt for the 2022 Grand Slam. Despite some fears over his fitness, Nadal revealed he ‘intends’ to compete at SW19 after images of him emerged going through his grass court preparations in Mallorca.
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