Rafael Nadal celebrated his 34th birthday in his home in Manacor instead of Roland Garros (as per tradition). The former World number 1 has recently resumed training in his academy, but he is not yet pushing too hard to avoid running into injuries.
At the moment it is not yet certain when the tournaments will resume (the suspension is until July 31st). In a Vodcast on the Tennis Channel, Andy Roddick praised the 19-time Slam champion for his extraordinary humility, which has remained unchanged despite all his career achievements.
Roddick on Nadal's down-to-earth attitude
"Rafa Nadal is one of the most accomplished athletes on earth...the humility...he looks the same throughout the year," Andy Roddick explained. "He can take a joke. He has this child-like innocence.
He doesn't know how great he is. That is why he is so endearing to tennis fans around the world. I don't think he would say anything like that on air. He would just say: Thank you very much (in Rafael' Nadal's accent). Rafa is one of the good guys not just in tennis, but on earth in general.
I love Rafa Nadal. He is a true gentleman," continued the American. In recent years, Rafael Nadal has decided to shorten his schedule as his friend and eternal rival Roger Federer. "Your former charge Roger really established health above all things.
If you have to take months off at a time, make sure you are healthy to make a run at Slams. He kind of established that at the end of 2016. Rafa is fine playing 10-12 events a year, making sure he is up for the French, getting his matches in, playing the Masters Series events on clay.
Going into the US Open with very few hardcourt matches, Rafa feels comfortable about it. I think that he used to feel the desperation to take reps on surfaces that weren't clay and now he is comfortable enough at the ripe old age of 34 to kind of go and trust the process.
He is going to have to grind through the first couple of rounds to gain form. But then once he does that, he is a legitimate contender at any Slam. As long as Rafa is healthy, you got to think he'll win one Slam a year at least.
When I first saw him when he was 18, I thought at 25-26 it's going to be incredibly difficult for him physically. But credit to him for adjusting well over time" - Roddick concluded. Nadal is the second male player after Andre Agassi to complete the singles Career Golden Slam, as well as the second male player after Mats Wilander to have won at least two Grand Slams on all three surfaces (grass, hard court and clay).
He has received the tour Sportsmanship Award three times and has been named the ATP Player of the Year five times and the ITF World Champion four times. In 2011, Nadal was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.
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