Rafael Nadal, number 3 in the world, considers that at 28 years old and after overcoming some injuries, he needs to take his tennis and physical level “to the highest level” to have real opportunities to compete in major tournaments.
The Spanish tennis player is very happy to have returned to the circuit after “a very tough second part of last season” and faces the start of the season on clay with optimism, which he will try to crown with his tenth Roland Garros, which It would be a record in a Grand Slam event.
This is what Nadal says in an interview on Eurosport, where he talks about his current state and his forecasts for this season, in which he has already opened his locker with the victory in Buenos Aires.
“I’m at a point in my career where I need to take my tennis and my physique to the highest level to have real opportunities to compete for all of those things again,” he says.
Nadal admits that, “obviously” he does not feel like when he was 19 years old, he considers it difficult to “analyze the moment when you come back from injuries”.
“The beginnings are complicated and you don’t feel as confident as when you’ve been playing for six months. I am feeling a little more tired than usual at the beginning, but I start to go better if I have no physical problems and this is the most important thing. If I can compete for a few months in a row, I hope to be 100 percent again, “he says in the interview.
The former world number one says he feels strong enough to return to his best version, but he does not forget that there is life behind tennis.
“I want to keep playing, that’s why I’m here. After all the injuries I’ve had in my career I stay positive with the good things that have happened to me for a long time. I have motivation to be here. Tennis has been and continues to be one of the most important parts of my life. I would be lying if I said that I am not happy when I am not playing because when I am at home I am happy with my family and friends doing other things.
On the possibility of approaching the 17 Grand Slams of the Swiss Roger Federer and surpassing his 14 major titles, Nadal did not show any particular concern about it, although he will fight to reach his number 15, which would allow him to surpass the American Pete Sampras.
“Now I’m 14 and I’m going to try to beat Sampras to the best of my ability. The records are there, but I don’t think much about it either. I worry more about the day to day, going from tournament to tournament. I think it’s the right way to achieve records. I have several that mean a lot to me. I never thought I would reach those fourteen Grand Slams, “he says.
Asked about the possibility of going down in history for being the first to win a major tournament ten times, if he wins Roland Garros, Nadal stressed that all the triumphs in Paris have been “magical.”
«Everyone has been magical at the time because I never thought, every time I finished a Roland Garros, that I was going to repeat it. He always said that he didn’t know if it was going to happen again, if he was going to have the chance to win again. Now I’m focused on trying to get back to my best level, and the moment that happens I know I’m one of the players who can be competitive again.”
The Majorcan champion referred to what will happen to tennis when the current figures leave the courts, among which he is along with Roger Federer or the Serbian Novak Djokovic.
“Tennis will survive without us. It is more important than three players, but it is true that there are always generations that take the sport to another level.
Nadal considers that “the people in charge must analyze what is happening and what changes are needed, because,” he adds, “in my opinion, what happens in the coming years with the new players if nothing changes is that the points will be more short”.
“I like it when I see people get excited and get involved with long points and not aces,” he concludes. EFE