French Open champion, Rafael Nadal, has revealed that he derived hunger for success from the Grand Slam record of his long term rival, Roger Federer.
The 33-year-old has 18 major singles title. He recently won the 2019 Roland Garros title, seeing off Austrian, Dominic Thiem, in the final, for his 12th on the court.
Nadal is now two major titles behind Federer, 37, who has been regarded as the best player of all time, having won 20 Grand Slams.
“It’s a motivation, but it’s not my obsession,” Nadal said of the Swiss superstar’s record. “You can’t be frustrated because your neighbor has a bigger house than you or a bigger TV or a better garden.
“That’s not the way I see life. If you ask me whether I would like to have it, of course. If that’s a goal in my career, no. It’s not what makes me get up every morning and train and play. It’s not the way in which I consider my sports career.”
“I feel very lucky about all the things that are happening to me. And if, at the end of my career,I’m able to win a couple of more Grand Slams and be closer to Roger, will be unbelievable. I want to follow my own journey, give myself the best opportunities, and give myself the possibility of competing at the highest level,” Nadal stated.
Nadal, lost in the final of the Australian Open in January to Novak Djokovic.
The World number two also pulled out of his semifinals against Federer in Indian Wells in March with a right knee injury, admitted that he was down mentally.
He had failed to win any title this season, until the week before his victory in France, when he won the Rome Open.
“Physically and mentally, but for me I always put more attention on the mental side. I lost a little bit of energy, because I had too many issues in a row. Monte-Carlo and the beginning of Barcelona have been tough for me, because I was not enjoying,” he added.