Before the start of the tournament, everyone had predicted that Nadal would face a hard time defending his title because of the cooler conditions, heavier balls, and slower courts. However, Nadal slammed all his critics by reaching the final and humiliating Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
Recently, Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge paid tribute to Nadal. He hailed Nadal’s astonishing French Open record as the greatest sporting achievement of all time.
Woodbridge won record 22 Grand Slam titles, including 16 Grand Slam Doubles and 6 Mixed Doubles championships. Nadal’s longevity and his convincing victory against the World No.1 impressed Woodbridge.
“To be able to go to a tournament and win it 13 times, be fit, healthy and mentally able to cope with the stresses of being one of the top players, I don’t think there’s any sporting feat that I can think of that has had that continuity, longevity and dominance,” said Woodbridge, during an interview.
Woodbridge talked about the conditions being in favor of Djokovic and applauded Nadal’s resilience. The Australian questioned what would happen when the tournament resumes to its original schedule. Furthermore, he wondered whether Nadal would ever get beaten at Roland Garros.
“From the beginning of the tournament, the formline, the change of ball, it all pointed to it being there for Novak, but Rafa again had this attitude to accept the challenges and do what he had to do,” remarked Woodbridge
The former doubles World No.1 heaped praise on Nadal for entering the French Open with a humble attitude. Woodbridge asserted that Roger Federer faces the biggest threat to his Grand Slam record, with Nadal already winning his 20th Grand Slam title and Djokovic having more years on the tour to do so.
Woodbridge said, “I don’t expect Rafa to retire, but there’d be something special about them finishing on the same number”. He thought it would be a testament to their epic rivalry if both players finish up with the same Grand Slam titles.