To the casual observer, this seems like Rafa Nadal’s finest hour.
After all, the great is coming off an unbelievable thirteenth Roland Garros title. And that too after bagelling the current world no. 1. And in the process equalling Roger Federer’s tally of 20 majors. A target he had been eyeing almost all his professional career.The target to catch up with the FedEx.The thumping win also furthered his case as perhaps the undisputed GOAT of the sport. What could possibly have been wrong?
Except for the fact that just a few months back, everything was going wrong!
“I could barely train because of the pain” recounts Nadal
Covid 19 and the subsequent lockdown has taken its toll on everyone around the world and even the sporting gods have not been aloof of its disastrous effects.
While speaking in a Q&A to the press after his win, the Spaniard revealed his personal struggles in the months leading up to his latest triumph.
“On a social level, we’ve been living with continuous problems. On a personal level, after the lockdown I went through a bad time, my body did not respond in the best way possible.
I had a lot of days where I could only train very little, with unpleasant feelings in my body. All of that, together with training without clear goals, makes the problem worse,” said Rafa.
“I had the right people by my side. They pushed me when necessary & they gave me the freedom to enjoy other things when I really needed to.”Rafa continued
We’ve had to make difficult decisions, like not going to New York. Everything is good or bad based on the final result. Right now, it seems like it was successful because I won at Roland Garros if I had lost maybe it wouldn’t have been so good.” Nadal added.
Rafa’s road ahead-
It seems clear for now that Nadal has left his lockdown ghosts behind him and seems positively thrilled on equalling Roger Federer’s tally of 20 grand slams, a record he deemed “impossible to achieve”.
Rafa in spite of his advancing age has no desire to hang up his boots as yet and for now, it seems that we will have a few more memories of the Big Three to cherish and enjoy.
“At the moment, it’s clear that I’m one of the two. We’ll see what happens in the next few years: what Djokovic does, what Federer does when he returns, and what I keep doing.
I don’t know what is left for me to win, but the excitement is in continuing to move forward. “