French Open 2020: ‘Me and Roger created something special about our rivalry and that’s beyond the tennis world’ says Rafael Nadal

The 12-time French Open Champion Rafael Nadal reflected on his performance in the 1st round of Roland Garros 2020 and comments on the future popularity of tennis after his, Roger’s and Serena’s retirement.

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Rafael Nadal (left), Roger Federer (right)

Rafael Nadal started his campaign to win the 13th Roland Garros title of his career on 28th September. The Spaniard defeated Belarusian Egor Gerasimov in straight sets in his Round 1 clash. The scoreline of 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 and taking off all of his 5 breakpoints reflected Rafa’s usual top-notch form. 

Rafael Nadal comments on his 1st Round win

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Rafael Nadal

In his post-match Roland Garros Press Conference, Nadal seemed please with his performance. He stated, I played quite a solid match when I was serving. I was playing some good points. I did some good forehands, winners down the line. That’s a key shot for me. And then I had to play a little bit longer. I played, sometimes, too short. But in general terms, that’s a normal first match of Roland-Garros.” 

Contemplating his recent loss in Italian Open and what that meant for his form, the Spaniard said, “Coming from the situation that I’m coming from, (referring to his loss against Diego Schwartzman) no, I am happy, honestly. Did the things that I had to do. I didn’t expect much more and I didn’t expect less, too. I am quite happy about how the match evolved. He served well. It wasn’t easy to make breaks. But in some ways, I did things well, and I’m happy for the victory.”

Related: Rafael Nadal replies to Novak Djokovic’s “Beatable on Clay” Comment

Rafael Nadal comments on the future of tennis

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Rafael Nadal

When asked about the future of tennis and if the popularity of the sport will waver after the retirement of some of its biggest names, Nadal seemed practical with his response but also acknowledged that some things, like his and Federer’s rivalry, can’t be duplicated.

An interviewer in the R.G conference after his 1st round win asked Nadal, “I wanna ask you about the popularity of tennis when you and Roger are gone. We have a new champion in Dominic Thiem at the U.S Open but his final was watched by million less than any of your finals. So, what do they have to do, the next generation, to match the popularity that you and Roger have, and Serena, as well, on the women’s side?”

To this Nadal responded, “Well, it needs time, that’s all. Probably titles, and matches, like Dominic played in the final helps to become more popular and that’s it. You know, you don’t create very popular stars in two days. You know, you need to achieve things.” 

Acknowledging the similar situation that he and Federer must’ve been in when they played their first final, the Spaniard said, “You know, I am sure that the first final that I played or Roger played was not the same as today, if we play in a final. That’s a process. In some ways, it’s normal. We have been on the tour for I don’t know how many years and we have been there a lot of times. You know, of course, maybe Roger and I, we created something special about our rivalry and that goes beyond the tennis world. I think they have to do it their way, and tennis will be healthy. We have a good future.”

Also Read: French Open 2020: Novak Djokovic to Surpass Another Roger Federer record

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