The world No 2 said: “We need to be responsible, we need to be sending strong messages and we need to be a positive example for society. We need to understand we are suffering an unprecedented situation and my feeling is that we need to come back when all the players from all the countries of the world are able to travel under safe circumstances.
“If not? In my personal opinion we will come back and I probably will play but my feeling will be that we are not being 100% correct.”
Nadal has been watching the protests in the United States over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “All the normal people and all the people who want a peaceful and good world, we are against racism, poverty, all the terrible stuff which is happening more often than we would like.
“When you see all these disasters on the streets, my feeling is: ‘That is not the way to protest.’ That’s not a good example. The situation is critical but I really believe strongly in people and I really believe we will be able to fix the problems.
- ‘Extraordinary’ Rafael Nadal compared to F1 team for relentless improvement ‘every year’ | express.co.uk
Speaking in an interview with Stats Perform, Leconte, a French Open runner-up in 1988, lauded Nadal’s greatness and his drive to evolve his game.
“When you think about it, 12 Roland Garros in 15 years,” he marvelled.
“You don’t think it would be possible. If someone told you that, you’d say, ‘You’re crazy.’ 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. He works on his serve, on his right hand, his left hand, and he’s always changing some things.”
With a dozen French Open titles in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the Spaniard is the only player in the history of the sport, male OR female, to win the same major 12 times. And the domination shows in his ridiculous 93-2 win-loss record in Paris, with his only losses coming against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and Djokovic in the quarters in 2015. He had to pull out mid-tournament in 2016 due to a wrist injury.
After falling to Nadal in the 2019 final, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, Dominic Thiem was asked to describe what happened in the last two sets—and his answer shed some light on why the 19-time Slam champion is 93-2 in Paris.
“After these two sets, I dropped a little bit my level,” the Austrian said. “Then Rafa, who’s won this tournament 12 times, he stepped on me.”
- 34 Stats On Rafael Nadal’s 34th Birthday | ATP Tour
- QUIZ: All Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam wins | Eurosport