Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal says him achieving 1,000 match wins on the ATP Tour means that he is old but also that he has been successful for a long time. Nadal, who had a first round bye at the Paris Masters, struggled in his opener at Bercy but eventually managed to beat fellow compatriot Feliciano Lopez 4-6 7-6 (5) 6-4.
"This means that I am old. That also means that I played well for a long time. It is something that makes me feel happy. I can only thank all the people who supported me. It is a very special number," Nadal said after recording his 1000th win, per Nikolaus Fink.
World No. 64 Lopez broke No. 1 seed Nadal in the opening game of the match and then held on to his serve for the rest of the set to win the opener. "I started the match the worst way possible, especially against a big server like Feli, Nadal noted.
"After that I played under a lot of pressure the rest of the match, but I found a way. That's the main thing honestly, no?"
Nadal admits he is proud of the Lopez win
"This victory is one that I am very proud," Nadal admitted.
"The personal satisfaction sometimes is bigger when you win these kind of matches than if you go on court and you win 6-3, 6-3. "So of course is something that I'm proud to even after achieved a lot of things in some of that moments I was able to keep being hungry to keep going and be enough humble to accept the challenges, to accept that in some moments things were not going the way that I expected."
Surprisingly, 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal has never made it all the way at the Paris Masters. A number of high-profile names -- including world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and world No. 3 Dominic Thiem -- are not playing at Bercy this week and Nadal is the top favorite to win it all.
"I have been playing well on this surface a lot of times in my career. Last year in the Davis Cup I played an amazing event. Here I was playing great last year, but I had strain in the abdominal," Nadal acknowledged.
"So if I am playing well, I think it's a surface that can work for me, because I think my serve is working better today than years ago, and that's a big help in this surface." Nadal will fight against Australian Jordan Thompson for a place in the Paris quarterfinal.