Rafael Nadal, fresh from his third US Open triumph on Sunday, insisted that crossing professional rival Roger Federer’s record is not on his mind. Currently, Nadal has 16 Grand Slams to his name, three lesser than the Swiss ace.
Defying odds, the four Grand Slams in the year have been shared by Nadal and Federer, who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles.
Is Nadal closing in on Federer’s all-time record? “I really never thought much about that. I just do my way. He does his way. Let’s see when we finish, no? Of course if I will win two Grand Slams this year and he will not win, we’ll be closer, but it still happens one more year and he has 19, I think. I have 16. So three is [a] big difference,” Nadal said.
I really don’t think much about these kind of things. As I said before, I do [it] my way. I’m very happy with all the things that are happening to me, [to] win this title again. I have this trophy with me. [It] is so important, winning on hard court again,” the Spaniard added.
Nadal, who has endured plenty of fitness woes over the last five years, reiterated the need to be injury-free, “Being healthy, you see everything [is] possible, no? With injuries, everything seems impossible.
But, being healthy and have the chance to practice well and compete well, everything change. But is true that I have 31, I don’t have 25 [years left in the game], but I still have the passion and the love for the game. I still want to compete and still feel the nerves every time that I go on court.
Until that things keep happening, I will be here. When some day arrives that I don’t feel that nerves or that extra passion for the game that I feel, will be the day to say, okay, I do another thing. But that’s all”
Nadal also reminded people that there is more to a season than just the Grand Slams. He said: “Well done for Roger that he is having an amazing season too and well done for me because I’m having a great season too.
Let’s see what happens until the season and that’s it. The rest of the things – tennis is not all the Grand Slams, so there is tournaments to come and I’m excited about this last part of the season.
Significance of the rivalry
Nadal, just like he did earlier in the tournament, said that the “Fedal” battles only enhanced the sport, “Of course this rivalry have been important for our sport, in my opinion. That involved a lot of people, and because of different styles, different characters, and we played for the most important things for such a long time, I think that was the great promotion for our sport. In a positive way, I think, because our relationship has always been very respectful, and friendly.
Nadal didn’t forget the impact of 12-time Grand slam winner Novak Djokovic, who was so often a thorn in the former’s flesh at the turn of the decade. Nadal added: “Yeah, is great. I feel happy to be part of this rivalry, but at the same time, I played even more matches with Novak than with Roger in such important matches, too.In my career, I have been involved on different rivalries.
I feel lucky to be part of all of them in some way. In another way, I have been in an era that three players achieve 19, 16 and 12. That’s a lot, no? There is a remarkable part of the history of our sport. So that means was difficult for everybody to win titles in this part of the, in this era.”