For men’s tennis, the past two decades have been something akin to a dream. A golden age in which three GOATS –Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer have constantly been battling to gain an upper edge and end up being the greatest in the history of tennis.
Between the mercurial efficiency of Novak Djokovic and the poetic artistry of Roger Federer lies the indomitable grit of Rafael Nadal. A Nadal who is the King of Clay.A Nadal who started out as a blistering record-breaking teenager and is now a legendary veteran. But one thing that has remained the same for Nadal over the years has been his hunger for excellence.
And now, at the ripe age of almost 35, even when it sounds that the end of the road is near, Rafa keeps on breaking new records even while giving us hints of his retirement and sharing with us his hopes of being at the top when the inevitable end does come.
Rafa not motivated by just records-
Sharing his thoughts about the GOAT race, Rafa said that Novak is more obsessed with records than him, speaking about them often and staying focused on that goal.
“I like to enjoy life. I’m very proud that I have been a professional tennis player for years while always finding time to enjoy things off the court.
“I’m 34, and I have to find time to relax. I will not be playing until 45, although I always try to do the best things and extend my career. The retirement will come one day, but I’m happy with what I’m doing now” the Spaniard voiced.
Hopefully at the end of my career, when I stop doing what I am doing, I’m going to have the time to analyse more these things,” Rafael Nadal said.
“Today, I’m just focused to try and keep going. We have a lot of tournaments throughout the year. Tennis goes quick, it’s not plenty of time to enjoy success or to think about, ‘I have this. I have won this” Nadal concluded.
Djokovic responds to Rafa’s assesment of him-
Djokovic, who is playing Belgrade this week, issued a speedy response, saying he thought Nadal had got his assessment wrong.
“It is all a matter of perception and interpretation of what one says,” Djokovic said when asked if he thought he had different motivations to Rafael Nadal.
“I have said a lot of times in the past that the love for the sport is the main motive why I keep playing professional tennis.
“Personally, I do not feel that I am obsessed with anything in life; what I feel is passion and huge desire. I am going towards achieving my goals and I have never had a problem verbalizing it.
“Maybe someone cannot say something and then stick to it, but I never found it hard to say: ‘I want to break that record or reach a certain goal’.World number 1 concluded.