Rafael Nadal: ‘For many years I heard that I would have…’

Rafael Nadal took his 12th trophy in Barcelona last Sunday, bending the stamina of stoic Stefanos Tsitsipas after nullifying a match point in the deciding set. This success came 16 years after his first triumph in Catalonia, further testimony to the incredible longevity of the 34-year-old from Manacor. The Spanish phenomenon has also overtaken Daniil Medvedev again, hoisting himself in second place in the ATP ranking. The positivity to COVID-19 of the Russian has certainly facilitated the task of Rafa, who has been able to raise his level of intensity with the passing of the rounds. This year the Iberian will hunt for the 14th seal at Roland Garros in his career, which would allow him to beat his eternal rival Roger Federer for the first time in the all-time Grand Slam standings. On the sidelines of his umpteenth triumph in front of a friendly public, the former world number 1 wanted to remember how many doctors had told him that his career would soon end due to a style of play that was too expensive for the physique.

Rafael Nadal won his 12th Barcelona title on Sunday

“For many years I heard that I would have a short career because of my style of play,” Rafael Nadal said. “At the end of the day, I’m still here, fighting for the biggest titles. I love tennis. I’m proud of it.” The 34-year-old disclosed how he had been in very good shape before entering the 2021 Monte Carlo Masters, but then ran into an in-form Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals. “In sport, it’s difficult to plan things, as it’s quite unpredictable,” Nadal said. “We try to be as ready as possible in every tournament. In fact, I arrived at Monte Carlo in very good shape, both in confidence and game, but then you have a bad match against a great player. So in sport you have to be ready to accept anything that could happen,” Nadal said. “Obviously, Roland Garros is always marked in my calendar and I’ll do my best to get there in the best possible way. But there is still a long way till then.” In a recent interview, rising star Sebastian Korda revealed that he takes a lot of inspiration from Rafael Nadal. He believes that the way Rafa carries himself on the court is nothing short of amazing. “There is always a lot of inspiration, especially from a guy like Nadal. He has always been an inspiration for me [with] the way he carries himself on the court, how professional he is and how humble he is. It is a big inspiration for me,” said Korda in the interview.


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