Rafael Nadal somehow manages to maintain modesty in the face of a fifth French Open title performance from the past six years.
The Spanish clay genius stoutly refuses to consider himself as the best to ever compete on the dirt.
“It would be very arrogant if I say for myself I am the best of the history,” said Nadal, heading straight onto grass at Queeen’s club, London, as top-seed this week, a day after finishing in Paris.
“The second thing: “I don’t believe I am the best of the history.
I try my best every day, and we will see when I finish my career.
It’s not me who will decide this.” Besides his five in Paris, Nadal’s career haul on the dirt also includes six Monte Carlo trophies, five in Rome and two from two appearances in the new Madrid event.
His nearest competition in the record books would be six-time Roland Garros champion Bjorn Borg, whose compatriot Robin Soderling lost 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to Nadal on Sunday on the senior Swedish legend’s 54th birthday.
Nadal’s heroics in front of his country’s Queen Sofia also move him back to the ATP top ranking, sending Roger Federer to second.
Nadal is the first to qualify for the eight-man season championship in London in November as well.
The Spaniard, who lost to Soderling in Paris in the 2009 fourth round with knee problems and then had to miss his Wimbledon title defence, said that the tears he shed in victory were ones of pure joy. It was a great personal satisfaction, because my family, my team, myself, all those who supported me and helped me be back.
“The truth is that I played this tournament with more anxiety. I was slightly more nervous than usual. I went through difficult moments because I couldn’t find my momentum on the court,” he said.
Already, Nadal has no choice but to shift emphasis to grass — and fast. But there is a limit to his powers of concentration.
“Let me enjoy this day before I start talking about Wimbledon.
Please give me that time to savour the moment, because it’s really a special moment for me,” he said.
“Tomorrow when I start practising in Queen’s, then we can start talking about Wimbledon.”
Keywords: French Open