Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are now the most successful Grand Slam players in men's tennis, both at 20 like no other. The Spaniard, winner of the 13th Roland Garros, joined the Swiss after a long run that began in 2005, the year of the Majorcan's first triumph in Paris.
And Federer paid homage to his rival with a message posted on social media. Words to honey for what Roger calls a "friend", even before an opponent. The Spaniard has now opened up about how he struggled during the lockdown and inside the bubbles at recent tournaments.
Nadal: 'I've managed to equal a record that seemed impossible'
"On a sporting level, it’s clear that I’ve achieved something significant: winning one of the most important tournaments in the world 13 times & equalling Roger Federer with 20.
We’ve been talking about this for a long time, particularly you journalists. I’ve managed to equal a record that seemed impossible. The numbers should be analysed by people who have good knowledge of the history of tennis" - Rafael Nadal explained.
"Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me much. I’m happy with my career. At the moment, it’s clear that I’m one of the two. We’ll see what happens in the next few years: what Djokovic does, what Federer does when he returns and what I keep doing.
If all goes well, we’ll have time to analyse it when our careers are over" - the former World number 1 added. Rafael Nadal added that he has no plans to retire just yet: "In the end, I’m a lucky person.
Life has smiled upon me so far. I don’t know what is left for me to win, but the excitement is in continuing to move forward. If you don’t have that enthusiasm it’s time to dedicate yourself to something else.
As long as I have it, I have to keep working hard every day to keep giving myself chances of competing at the highest level." The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in 2020, affecting millions of lives. Nadal was happy to compete in his first Grand Slam championship since the Australian Open in January, but he knows there are many people suffering.
“I won the tournament, [but] I [haven’t] changed my thoughts. The situation is still sad. We are lucky enough to be able to practise, to play our sport, to have a Tour,” Nadal said. “We can't thank enough the ATP and Roland Garros and the US Open and everybody who made big efforts to organise events under these very difficult circumstances.
But I didn't forget how tough the situation in the world is. I just really hope that the situation improves very soon”.