When Rafael Nadal broke Bjorn Borg's record for most hits at Roland Garros, hardly anyone would have imagined that in 2020 the Spaniard would reach 13 triumphs in Paris. The Manacor phenomenon won this edition of the Parisian Grand Slam without giving up a single set, however, in atmospheric conditions that were not entirely congenial to his characteristics.
Thanks to yet another success in Port d'Auteuil, the former world number 1 has equaled Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams and will be the big favorite again next year. Numerous players, both current and former, have paid tribute to Rafa's extraordinary feat, including his compatriot Alex Corretja.
It is interesting to note how other Spanish champions, such as David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Corretja himself, despite having won more than 30 games each at Roland Garros, have never won the trophy.
Corretja on Rafael Nadal
"When Rafael Nadal wins, we all win,” Alex Corretja wrote. “It is very difficult for me to summarize in a single page what Rafa Nadal means for all of us”. Alex Corretja continued his eulogy of Rafael Nadal by calling him the greatest Spanish sportsperson of all time.
“This last week, everyone has returned to talk about Nadal. And in these times, I do not find anything better than to value and appreciate the records that day by day, he can break...for me, (he) is the best Spanish athlete of all time (with absolute respect for everyone else),” Corretja wrote.
“I want to remember that Rafa is human, even though he acts like a machine,” Corretja wrote. “That he is sensitive, even if he looks like iron, and that his game can be as overwhelming as lava from a volcano.
Taking into account that he has been playing tennis for more or less 28 years, he will have had to invest around 245,000 hours of his life to get to where he has come. So be patient, if you want to fulfill a dream," Corretja continued.
"The good thing (for Rafa) is, it is done. Congratulations, Rafa!” Corretja also stressed on how easily Nadal defeated Djokovic, who is the world number one, in the Paris finals. He admitted that no other athlete follows Nadal’s fan following in Spain.
While Nadal also equaled Roger Federer‘s 20 Grand Slam titles with the French Open win, he seems far from done. The 34-year-old looks set to further improve on his Roland Garros and Grand Slam tally.