It has been an eventful year for tennis with the threat of the global pandemic ravaging through the sport’s calendar. But with everything that is happening, tennis great Rafael Nadal remains to be one of the more influential players in the world.
With everything that Nadal has done, it would be inevitable that comparisons to his rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic would be made. While Federer leads the big three in most Grand Slam titles won, Nadal and Djokovic aren’t far behind. But no matter how hungry they are to win more championships, 60 Minutes correspondent Jon Wertheim believes this shouldn’t matter for Nadal when everything is said and done.
In a report by CBS News, Wertheim took the time to spend with Nadal and follow his journey as an athlete. In one of his conversations with Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya, it was highlighted how the tennis star would just want to be himself during this time.
“He has a lot of pressure on him just being Rafa Nadal. And we try to forget about that challenge of beating Roger [Federer] or whoever is the one who’s having more [Grand] Slams,” Moya said.
To add to this, Wertheim realized that Nadal is a fierce competitor who has already accomplished what he needs to achieve. This doesn’t mean that the multiple-time champion would tone his pace down, rather he’s just more understanding of the situation now.
“If he retires with the most majors, that’s great, and if not, I don’t think it’s going to devastate him,” Wertheim added.
With a record of 20 Grand Slam victories, the 38-year-old Federer has been one of the biggest icons of the world. With the way he’s racked up title after title, he’s been dubbed as the greatest of all time on the tennis court. The manner of how he has dominated throughout his career shows how special he is for the sport.
The current world number one Djokovic has also been on top of his game with a total of 17 Major titles under his belt. For Nadal, he is already at 19 and a win away from tying Federer. Despite the pressure and anticipation of being the best, Nadal himself shared how his main goal is to be happy.
“I’m not worried about retiring at the end of my career,” Nadal said.
“I just want to be happy and enjoy playing as much as possible. And when I retire, I think, fortunately, there are many things in my life that will make me happy,” Nadal added.
It will be interesting to monitor what will happen in the near future and how the landscape of tennis will look like in the coming years when the big three are done with their illustrious careers.