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. Throughout my career, I have tried to control myself and have the right attitude at each point, fighting to the end and respecting each opponent. I want to thank my fellow Tourists for thinking that I am the right person to receive this great honor. Maybe I can play until 50 and catch up with Roger Federer, who has won the award 13 times,” said Rafael Nadal.
Nadal is one of the most inspiring athletes in the world
Rafael Nadal’s game might seem flawless in comparison to Dominic Thiem’s current level, but Francisco Roig recently claimed that the 13-time Roland Garros champion still has room for improvement. “Looking ahead to Roland Garros, I think a little more mobility is important,” Roig said. “At the level of aerobic capacity, he has been very good, holding out in games, but I think we have room for improvement when moving. It can still be a more dynamic point, both forward and in lateral mobility.” Francisco Roig went on to assert that Dominic Thiem would be as dangerous an opponent as Novak Djokovic, given his affinity towards clay. “In the [ATP] Masters 1000 it has been distributed more, it is obvious that they are getting closer and closer, but in the Grand Slam, in five-set matches, I continue to see them as favorites,” Roig said. Former Spanish tennis star Alex Corretja has made a huge claim on the future of compatriot Rafael Nadal in the sport. The crowd at the Manolo Santana was witness to the golden moment after Alcaraz received a masterclass from his idol in a third-round clash on his 18th birthday. “It was in an ideal setting: in Madrid and on Carlos Alcaraz’s birthday. It is your letter of introduction in Spain,” the former star said.