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“Rafael Nadal cannot be brushed off as a clay court bully anymore,” Wilander on Nadal’s French Open triumph

Mats Wilander believed that people often belittle Rafael Nadal's position in the GOAT debate and said that after his recent French Open triumph, the Spaniard can no longer be called a clay court bully.

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Mats Wilander heaped praise on Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal claimed his 13th French Open title last week as he defeated his rival, Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the final. With his French Open triumph, the Spaniard equaled Federer’s record of 20 Grandslam titles. Nadal won the French Open title in a dominating fashion, without dropping even as single set. In the final, he cruised past Djokovic in straight sets, without giving Serbian a chance to comeback in the match.

Considering that the conditions at this year’s French Open were against him, there were some doubts regarding whether the Spaniard could emerge victorious in Paris yet again. The conditions were cooler than usual because the French Open was played in September-October window instead of the usual May-June period. The usual Babolat balls were replaced by lighter Wilson balls which were believed to work against the Spaniard.

The Spaniard proved everyone wrong, and claimed his 13th French Open title, producing his best tennis. Mats Wilander, 7 time Grandslam champion was in full praise of the Spaniard and he believed that he could no longer be considered a clay court bully with the conditions at this year’s French Open being more like non-clay court like conditions.

Wilander believes people belittle Nadal’s position in GOAT Debate

Rafael Nadal

Mats Wilander believed that people belittled Nadal’s position in the GOAT debate because of his dominance on clay courts. The Spaniard’s outright dominance the French Open has always raised questions regarding his versatility on other surfaces. “In the famous GOAT debate, some people sometimes belittle Nadal’s position because of his predominance on clay,” Wilander said to to L’Equipe.

The conditions at this year’s French Open were very different. The usual warmth and sun, which aids Nadal’s game, were totally absent. Instead the air around Court Philippe Chatrier was damp and heavy which reduced the bounce of the ball. The balls were lighter and kept low during the tournament, Djokovic too complained about the same. There was increased humidity as the matches including the final were played under a closed roof.

Inspite of these adverse conditions, the Spaniard triumphed in Paris yet again and equaled Federer’s tally of 20 Grandslam titles. Mats Wilander praised the Spaniard, “But by winning under these conditions this year, with clay so heavy he sent a strong message,” ‘

Wilander also jokingly said that Nadal just needed a tennis court to win a Grandslam title and did not need the conditions that favor him. “Hey guys, you see I don’t need the ball to bounce that high. I don’t need 30 degrees, I just need a tennis court to win a Grand Slam,” Wilander concluded.

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