World No. 8 Andrey Rublev has an extremely high opinion of Rafael Nadal as he thinks the Spaniard is the greatest sportsman of all time. Nadal, who claimed a record 13th French Open title after beating Novak Djokovic in the final, equaled Roger Federer on the all-time Grand Slam record list with 20 Majors captured.
"I cannot imagine how - I'm not even talking about [just at] the Grand Slams - it is possible what he is doing," Rublev said, per Sky Sports. "To be mentally that strong all your life and all your career, I don't know how it is possible.
"I'm tennis, if you are having a really bad day it is really tough to find a way (to win) and compete like nothing happened. He has done this during all his career. For me he is the best athlete, not even in tennis, the best athlete in history."
After equaling Federer's record, the Swiss himself congratulated the Spaniard and showed the respect he has for his old-rival. "I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion.
As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players,” Federer wrote on Twitter. “Therefore, it is a true honour for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory.
It is especially amazing that he has now won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times, which is one of the greatest achievements in sport,” Federer wrote. “I also congratulate his team, because nobody can do this alone.
I hope 20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us. Well done, Rafa. You deserve it”.
Rublev aiming the Nitto ATP Finals
This past Sunday, Rublev handed a straight-set defeat to Croatian Borna Coric to win the St.
Petersburg Open. Following his victory in St. Petersburg, Rublev climbed up to a career-high ranking of No. 8 in the world. "I know I have a really good chance to qualify, but still it is not 100 per cent yet,” Rublev said, per the ATP website.
“This year, I didn’t expect that I would have a chance, so in the end nothing is going to change for me. Even if I don’t make it, the season was really good for me anyway. If I make it, it is really good news.
[It is] one chance to compete against the best players, to do my best”. Rublev has now won four titles this season. "I am proud and I am happy with the way I am performing," Rublev added. "I try not to think about it.
I try to focus on the things I still need to improve, because there are so many things I can improve and I have to improve if I want to be at the same level or even better”.