Rafael Nadal was only 19 when he scored his first career Slam, winning Roland Garros in 2005. The Spanish phenomenon would have won the Parisian Grand Slam 13 times, but has shown he can excel even away from clay. . The former world number 1 also boasts two titles at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open on his showcase, without forgetting his four triumphs at the US Open.
By winning Roland Garros in 2020, the Mallorcan won his 20th Grand Slam, thus equaling Roger Federer's all-time record after a very long chase. In a recent interview during the Alvarez Cafe show, Rafa revealed that his first Roland Garros success was not the most challenging of his career.
According to the Manacor legend, the triumphs of 2011 and 2020 were even more difficult due to the unprecedented circumstances. This year the French Open was held in the fall due to the global pandemic, which forced the organizers to move the tournament to October.
Nadal on the difficulty levels of his various Slam titles
“My first title there, I don't think it's the most complicated or the most surprising,” Rafael Nadal said. “In 2005 I definitely started to stand out.
I had already won in Brazil, Acapulco, Miami final, Barcelona, Rome, therefore when I arrived at Roland Garros it is true that I was young, but also one of the favorites. And the young age give you that confidence and that audacity you need.
I had energy to spare that year." During the interview, Rafael Nadal was also asked why he decided to pursue tennis as a career. The Spaniard revealed that his uncle Toni started giving him lessons right from the age of three, and explained how the sport kept growing in importance for him.
“I also played soccer,” Nadal said. “Tennis, because my uncle was a coach. I started when I was three, once a week or something like that. I continued playing more and until I was 13 years old, also soccer. Then no longer, because I had to study.
Like many people, there are circumstances that help you take a path, and this was mine." He also sealed a fresh deal with the South Korean car-maker, tying him with the firm till 2025. “Personally though, I’ll take some of the positives I’ve been able to live with this year, as has been to be able to win RG (Roland-Garros) again or to extend my partnership with KIA till 2025, which is very special to me since we’ve been together for almost a lifetime and are very close to the silver anniversary,” the Spaniard says.