Rafael Nadal will carry on as normal after making history with a ninth French Open title at the weekend, with the Spaniard set to make the abrupt switch from clay to grass as the Wimbledon countdown gains pace.
Nadal put his season right as he defeated Novak Djokovic in four sets in the final to end a four—match losing streak to the Serb and hang on to the world number one ranking.
The victory in three and a half hours was clearly emotional for Nadal, who held back his tears of joy.
But the steely Spaniard, who turned 28 last week, is already pointing his attention towards Wimbledon, which begins in a fortnight.
Nadal admitted that the Roland Garros effort used every reserve he had.
“Physically I felt I was totally empty, drained, exhausted,” said the king of clay. “I don’t know if could have played a five set match. I was not feeling well at all, physically speaking.
“But the motivation and also the hope that I could perhaps win this match, win the tournament, the appetite I had, well, these are the reasons why I managed to stick to it to the very end.” Djokovic was also feeling poorly, telling Serbian media that he had vomited several times in recent days.
Nadal’s ninth Paris honour puts his career total of grand slam singles crowns at 14, three less than the all—time best of 17 held by Roger Federer. But Nadal insists he’s not thinking of that particular record.
“He has 17 and I have 14, that’s true. But I’m not really worried. It’s not a source of motivation for me. I’ll follow my own path, then when my career is over, we’ll count.
“I don’t really care that much about the records. I’ll still play with a lot of intensity, I’ll still be motivated. Time will tell if I can have another record or not. For the time being, I’m so happy to have reached 14.” Nadal cannot help but be somewhat impressed by his career Paris record. “The fact that I won my ninth Roland Garros in a row is a very good thing. Mentally it really shows that I can play in a very consistent way for many months.
“It’s not just a one-week preparation. You have to work hard and practise for days and weeks and months. To me, winning is the result, the equivalent of lots of effort; therefore, I feel more serene and personally I’m very satisfied.” Nadal insists that he will got to the grass in Halle, Germany, to start his Wimbledon preparation at a tournament featuring Federer.
The Spaniard played there in 2005 and reached 2012 quarterfinal but cited exhaustion for a 2013 pullout.
“I want to try to play well again in Wimbledon. I’m healthy, that’s the most important thing, I feel. I hope my knee will have the positive feeling on grass, because I feel my knee better than last year on the other surfaces.”