Rafael Nadal has been one of the most dominating players on tour for almost 2 decades. Last year, he won his record 13th French Open title and in the process matched Roger Federer’s record of 20 grand slams.
For this exceptional feat, Nadal was named the 2021 Laureus Sportsman of the year on Thursday. He was nominated alongside Joshua Cheptegei, Armand Duplantis, Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James and Robert Lewandowski for the prestigious award.
Post his win, Rafa spoke about his struggles on court due to ageing. He said that with time, it is getting more and more difficult for him. “It is getting more and more difficult. I am 35 years old and many generations come. People may think it is easy, but it is not like that. Many things have to be aligned to win a great tournament. And I have been here since 2003.”
‘I have an intense life outside of tennis that fulfills me’: Rafael Nadal
Nadal further spoke about the reasons for his success. He listed the keys to such a successful career, especially in Paris. He said, “You need a long career, if you don’t have passion, you can’t improve the things you have to improve because you have to adapt: sport changes very quickly.”
On asked what he thinks about retirement and life after that, the Spaniard said, “I want to continue doing the best thing that I think I do, which is to play tennis. And when that moment comes, I hope to fit in well, because surely it will not be easy, although I have an intense life outside of tennis that fulfills me. I was worried, really.”
On the ATP tour, top seed Nadal was knocked out of the Madrid Masters by German Alexander Zverev in the quarter-final. He will be back in action next week at the Italian Open.