Former French Open doubles champion, Henri Leconte, praised the 19-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal, for his unrivaled domination at Roland Garros. Over the past 15 years, Rafa has amassed 12 French Open crowns. In his thriving career, he has just dropped two matches on the Parisian terre-battue to Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic. And in 2016, Nadal had to retire in the middle of the tournament due to his wrist injury.
The reason behind his consistency in the tournament is all because of his perseverant nature and devotion towards the game. Every year, he tries to bring changes in his game, that allow him to tackle the fierce competition against the world.
“When you think about it, 12 Roland Garros in 15 years, you don’t think it would be possible. If someone told you that, you’d say, ‘You’re crazy.’” Leconte told Stats Perform.
Even when he’s best in the game or ranked World Number one, Rafa endeavors towards perfection. Whenever he steps on the practice courts, the Spaniard wears an underdog attitude and focuses on getting better and better.
For instance, during the off-season of 2018, Nadal worked incessantly on his serve with coach Carlos Moya. He entered the year 2019 with a revamped service, and his average aces per match bounced from 2.6 to 4.5 aces. That was the highest average ace count of his career.
“What’s astonishing to me is how he evolved physically, how he changed his game, how he improved. I like to compare him to an F1 racing team which is producing a new car every year, he is coming every year with a new way of playing and adapting,” Leconte added.
“He works on his serve, on his right hand, his left hand, and he’s always changing some things.”
He entered Rome Masters, having won no titles in 2019, and defeated Novak Djokovic in the finals. Then, a few days later, he pulled his 12th French Open title in Paris.