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Secret to Nadal's longevity

June 04, 2022 01:54 IST
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Others love golf, I love tennis so I am playing on, says Nadal

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: Rafael Nadal defied expectation. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

After reaching a record 14th French Open final on Friday, 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal said he has nothing left to prove in tennis and was only playing on because he was still fit enough and enjoying it.

Nadal moved into Sunday's final after Alexander Zverev turned his ankle in the second set of their semi-final and was forced to retire while trailing the Spaniard 7-6(8) 6-6.

"It's about every day. No, I mean, it's not about things that you need to prove," Nadal said. "It's about how much you enjoy doing what you are doing or if you don't enjoy, then is another story, no?"


"But if you like what you are doing, you keep going, because, for example, if you like to go and play golf, you keep going to play golf."

"If I like to play tennis and if I can and I can handle to keep playing, I keep playing because I like what I do. So that's it."

Nadal defied expectations to win this year's Australian Open, thus becoming the first man to capture 21 Grand Slam trophies. His haul is one more than those owned by his rivals Novak Djokovic, whom he beat in the Roland Garros quarter-finals, and Roger Federer.

He had arrived in Paris nursing a nagging foot injury and even brought a doctor with him to improve his chances of hoisting the Musketeers' Cup for a record-extending 14th time.

It has not been an easy ride for the Spaniard.

Nadal needed five sets to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round and another four to oust Djokovic in a match that lasted more than four hours.

He will either play Croatia's Marin Cilic or Norway's Casper Ruud in the final.

"I was not very positive after that (Italian Open) about my foot, but I was positive that I will be able to play here," he said.

"And here I am. I played, I fought, I did all the things possible to give myself at least a chance to be where I am and happy of course to be able to give myself another chance to play on the second (sic) Sunday here in the final of Roland Garros, no?

"If I am healthy enough to play, I like the competition... to play in the best stadiums of the world and ... at my age (to) still (be) competitive."

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