Fresh off the back of his 14th Roland Garros success, Rafa Nadal sat down with MARCA to discuss his latest title as well as his future in the sport of tennis.
The Spanish legend racked up his 22nd Grand Slam of his career and, although there is talk of a potential retirement, Nadal insists he does not worry him as much as most would think given his other interests in life.
How was the night after the victory?
The truth is that physically I am very well. I’ve been very good for two weeks. When I’ve played long matches, in terms of stiffness, surprisingly because of the lack of training prior to this tournament, the following mornings I’ve woken up fine. At this stage of my career and at my age, I haven’t had a lot of stiffness.
How is your foot feeling?
It hurt at night. When I wake up, and after two and a half weeks of taking a lot of anti-inflammatories and painkillers every six hours, this Monday has been complicated.
What did you make of this French Open?
On a tennis level it has an important value because I have managed to beat very good players. On a mental level, too. After living what I lived after Indian Wells with a broken rib, in Rome I was weak and many days I was not able to train… I knew that I could play the matches because you can play with your foot asleep. Being able to focus on tennis and play at the level I did means that mentally I was ready to take on the challenge.
You won the French Open for the first time in 2005 and you’ve won it again 17 years later. What does that tell you?
The first thing it says is that it’s been many years. I was the first one who thought that I would not have a career as long as I am having. Despite the things that have to me, I have always happened the desire and determination to continue. And I have had the right people by my side who have helped me be able to continue.
Can anyone match your 14 titles at Roland Garros?
It seems no, but it’s not impossible. It is true that it is difficult. I am realistic about the difficulty that this entails and of all the circumstances that have to be in place for it to happen. If I have done it, I suppose it can be repeated. I’m not going to be a super chosen one, although it’s clear that many circumstances have to be met and in my case they have been met.
Are you more tempted by life outside tennis because of all the problems you are having playing and how do you imagine it?
I imagine it to be just like the many times in my career that I have had to be out of competition for months due to injuries. I’ve always been happy outside of tennis, it’s not something that keeps me awake at night and I’m not afraid of it. I have said it many times: I am not afraid of my life after tennis. I have and have always had many things that make me happy beyond tennis. On a physical level I have what I have and, about my foot, if I want to, I can get rid of the pain in a fairly definitive way. What happens is that to get rid of the pain I have to have an operation to fix my foot, which would mean that I would not be able to continue playing tennis.