‘Even those who are able to beat Rafael Nadal today…’, says ATP ace

Rafael Nadal kicked off the 2020 season at the inaugural ATP Cup in Perth, leading his country’s attempts to secure the second consecutive team crown. Rafa won all three head-to-head singles matches, beating Nikoloz Basilashvili, Pablo Cuevas and Yoshihito Nishioka to propel Spain to the quarterfinals. After a close victory over the Japanese, Nadal received the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the third time, repeating the honor he previously achieved in 2010 and 2018. Established in 1977, the ATP Sportsmanship Award had its regular owner from 1988-1995. with Stefan Edberg earning five honors in those years. Known as one of the calmest and best-received players on the Tour, Edberg was recognized by the ATP in 1996 when the award was named after him, represented as the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award ever since. In the last 25 years, Álex Corretja, Patrick Rafter, Paradorn Srichaphan, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were the only winners of the award voted on by the players themselves, with Federer and Nadal taking each and every one since 2004! Nadal earned it in 2010 and 2018, while Federer took all the remaining years (although it is not entirely clear what he must do to secure the award), receiving the honor for the thirteenth time in 2017. After winning it in 2018, Nadal was nominated for the 2019 season alongside Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and Diego Schwartzman, beating rivals to become the third player since 1996 with three Stefan Edberg awards behind Patrick Rafter and Roger Federer. “Receiving the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the third time means a lot to me. As I always say, winning titles and matches is important, but it is even more meaningful for the public and other players to remember you as a good person.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Rafael Nadal

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga recently showered rich praise on Rafael Nadal, and talked up the Spaniard’s claim to the title of ‘GOAT’. Tsonga believes Nadal will be considered the greatest player of all time once he manages to win his 21st Grand Slam. “Considering that he is five years younger than Federer, what he has done is exceptional,” Tsonga said. “Today we cannot question that he was the one who won the most. If he were to overtake Roger with the number of Grand Slam titles, there would definitely be no more debate about the greatest player of all time.” The former Australian Open champion also believes Nadal would be the favorite in the eyes of everyone – including those who have a chance of beating him, like Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem. “Today there is no one who doubts that he is the inevitable favorite, you ask all the players, even those who are able to beat him today, they think he is the favorite,” Tsonga said. “There is no doubt, he has won 13 times in 15 years, it’s just out of the ordinary. If there is one favorite, it’s Rafael Nadal.”

Leave a Reply