Rafa Nadal says he doesn’t mind being considered the best male player in tennis history despite extending his lead over Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the all-time Grand Slam race.
Nadal won his 14th Roland-Garros title Sunday, brutally beating Casper Ruud in the final 6-3 6-3 6-0.
In doing so, he won the 22nd Grand Slam title of his storied career, edging out Djokovic and Federer on 20 by two.
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Speaking during Eurosport’s coverage of the final, Mats Wilander declared Nadal the men’s GOAT – the greatest of all time.
“I think it must be [the sweetest title for Nadal]“, said Willander.
“At first he didn’t know if he was going to be able to play, every morning when he woke up. But now [we must] focus not on 14… but on 22!
“He now has two leads over Novak and Roger, and that could be why he is considered the greatest player of all time.
“Again, he’s so humble and in the moment that it looks like he’s going to carry on.”
But according to Nadal, he doesn’t really care whether or not he’s the greatest of all time.
Asked in his post-match press conference about extending his lead over Djokovic and Federer, he said: “It’s not about being the best in history or records, it’s is about “I love what I do”.
“We achieved our dreams, Roger, Novak, me.
“Competition to be the best is not my motivation. It’s to live moments, to play in front of crowds. And passion for sport.”
Rafa Nadal plans to play at Wimbledon
Britain great Tim Henman says he never thought Nadal would be two ahead of Djokovic and Federer at this stage of their careers.
“It’s incredibly exciting. In terms of who’s going to win the most Grand Slams,” he told Eurosport.
“A few years ago I would have said Djokovic, of course. But right now, with this little distance, I think Nadal has a great chance.
“It’s going to be fascinating to see. You have another opportunity in three weeks, so fingers crossed I’m so hoping Rafa can be there on the grass (at Wimbledon).
“When you’ve won as much as him, you never know what’s in store for you. I think he was very upfront and very honest in saying he doesn’t know if he’s going to come back here.
“But when you see a performance like that, it was just another masterclass on clay. You would have thought that when he wins those big titles – don’t forget he won the Australian Open, the French Open, now you can talk about the Grand Slam being underway.
“It will surely motivate him to continue. That’s why we keep our fingers crossed because it’s a privilege to see one of the greatest champions of our sport playing like this.”
Speaking after the game, Nadal said he plans to play at Wimbledon if his troublesome foot allows it.
The Spanish champion has revealed he received painkiller injections in his left foot to play at Roland Garros, but said he would not do the same for Wimbledon.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I will keep fighting,” he said.
“Wimbledon is a priority. If I’m able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes [I will play]but with anesthetic injections, no [I won’t play].
“I don’t want to put myself back in that position. It’s not a philosophy I want to follow.
“Wimbledon is not a tournament I want to miss, it’s not a tournament anyone wants to miss.
“I love Wimbledon. I had a lot of success there. A player like me, I’m always ready to play at Wimbledon.”
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