MADRID - As Rafael Nadal celebrated lifting the French Open trophy for the 11th time, the Spaniard admitted that even he is surprised to be winning Grand Slam titles at the age of 32. “At this age I thought I’d be retired and be having a family,” Nadal told Spanish sports newspaper Marca.
Nadal, who retained his world number one ranking following Sunday's triumph in Paris, is also surprised that he and great rival Roger Federer, 36, continue to dominate the men’s game. The duo's careers seemed all but over after both were sidelined with injuries in 2016 but in the last 18 months, all six majors have been won by either Federer or Nadal.
When Federer beat Nadal in the 2017 Australian Open final, the Swiss ended a five-year Grand Slam title drought. Nadal also thought his glory days were over as he had drawn a blank at the majors in 2015 and 2016.
“It’s surprising because in 2017 I had gone for two years without winning a Grand Slam and I think he’d been without one since 2012, too," added Nadal. “Of course it’s a surprise because we’re getting on a bit and when you’ve been such a long time without winning you don’t know if you’ll ever do so again.”
Nadal’s victory on Sunday earned him a 17th slam, putting him just three behind Federer's record haul of 20. However, he insisted he is not putting any pressure on himself to catch Federer.
“Obviously I’d like to have 20 titles like him – or more – but that’s not in my head right now, and 17 is an incredible number. I want to enjoy the moment. I can’t be thinking about the next win, that’d drive me crazy. You can’t drive yourself crazy if someone has more titles.”
Hello everybody. You can imagine the happiness today. Now back at home in Mallorca and will post later some pictures on my Instagram account from these weeks at @rolandgarros thanks all for your support pic.twitter.com/mXcyz1m5TO