Earlier this month, Rafael Nadal demolished Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros final by winning the Parisian Grand Slam for the 13th time in his extraordinary career. Thanks to this success, the Spanish phenomenon has also equaled the record of 20 Slams of eternal rival Roger Federer, helping to reignite the debate on the GOAT.
With several factors new to the usual - such as weather conditions and Wilson balls instead of Babolats - many thought the Majorcan would have given up his scepter in Paris. The 34-year-old from Manacor, on the other hand, has grown with the passing of the rounds, risking something only in the first two sets against the Italian Jannik Sinner.
The former world number 1 recently announced his intention to participate in the Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy before closing his 2020 with the ATP Finals in London. In a long interview with the Sportstar website, former cricket champion Sunil Gavaskar praised the greatness of Nadal, the author of a feat destined to remain etched in the history of the sport.
Gavaskar on Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer
"Rafael Nadal winning the French Open for a record-extending 13th time is absolutely jaw-dropping," Sunil Gavaskar said. "It’s the hardest surface to play on and a player has to be incredibly fit to keep playing five-setters pretty much every day.
Yet Rafa finds something extra that takes him to the title year after year. He is level with Roger Federer with 20 Majors under his belt and to many in the tennis world he is already the greatest of them all," Gavaskar added.
"He still has a few years left and with his superb fitness he could win Majors for the next couple of years too. What shines through apart from his talent is his temperament. He hardly ever gets ruffled unlike Djokovic and so has a better grip on his game as he doesn’t let other factors disturb his mental equilibrium.
As always it’s temperament that separates the men from the boys," Gavaskar said. The Big 3 of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have dominated men's tennis for most of the last two decades. "Chennai's consistent performance over the years may bring forth comparison with the Big 3 in the tennis world.
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have featured in the semis if not the finals of virtually all the Majors over the last 10 years or so. Reaching the semis year after year is incredible and the Big 3 have been doing it quite easily despite a rash of young talent which seems to freeze in the big ticket Major events," Gavaskar said.