Rafael Nadal turns 35 in a couple of weeks, and he is still ranked inside the top-2 alongside Novak Djokovic. The 20-time Major champion claimed the 87th ATP title in Barcelona two weeks ago, saving a match point against Stefanos Tsitsipas in that epic final to secure at least one ATP title for the previous 18 years!
Nadal's first notable season came in 2005 when he became world no. 2 behind Roger Federer, winning incredible 11 ATP titles still as a teenager and securing a Major glory. Despite many setbacks with injuries, Nadal hasn't left the top-10 group for 16 consecutive years, setting the record that will hardly be beaten in the future.
Feliciano Lopez praised Rafael Nadal and his desire for tennis at 34.
Nadal is still as passionate about tennis as ever before and eager to give his best in every match, fighting with the same spirit as 15 or 20 years ago and always doing everything to improve his game and remain competitive.
Praising his compatriot, the Madrid Open tournament director Feliciano Lopez said that Nadal still plays on a very high level at 34, which isn't easy after that many years on the Tour. In Lopez's opinion, Rafa is mentally and physically prepared to chase more notable titles in the upcoming years, starting from the Madrid Open this week.
Nadal is the top seed in Madrid, hoping to overpower Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev and fight for the 36th Masters 1000 crown. "Few players at 34 years could think that they would be where Rafael Nadal is right now.
He has shown that he is with the illusion intact, and that is also very complicated. I find that he is currently at an incredible level, and I still see him get better. I think Rafa will stay competitive for a few more years.
Age does not forgive, but Rafa can continue playing at a high level at this age easily - he is physically and mentally prepared for more wins. It is very complicated when you are that age and can't think how many more years you are going to compete if you don't think about playing that year to the fullest," Feliciano Lopez said.