Johannesburg: Fourteen-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal has insisted that winning a record 10th French Open title would not be the greatest achievement of his career.
Nadal marched into the French Open final after outclassing Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 on Friday. He will now face 2015 Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka in the summit clash on Sunday after the 32-year-old Swiss defeated Andy Murray in a five-set epic to become the oldest finalist in Paris since 1973.
The Spaniard believes his proudest moment came at the all time low of his career in 2012 and 2013 when it seemed certain that his career-long battle against knee and wrist injuries would finally be lost.
However, the 31-year-old then engineered one of the sport’s most remarkable seasons.
“It’s true that 10 is a beautiful number, but actually my favourite is nine,” Sport24 quoted Nadal as saying.
“For sure if it becomes 10 it will be my favourite.”
“But the thing that I am more proud of in my career probably is 2013. It was amazing,” he added.
The fourteen-time grand slam champion was forced to miss seven months of action between 2012 and 2013 due to a left knee injury and then a stomach virus.
However, on his return, Nadal clinched the French and US Open titles and reclaimed the numero one spot in the ATP Rankings.
“I had too many problems on my knee, so I was not able to practice at all. And I finished the year being World No. 1, winning here (in Paris), winning the US Open. So that’s the thing that I am more proud,” said Nadal.
He leads the head-to-head with Wawrinka 15-3, but the Swiss stunned an injury-hit Nadal three years ago to claim the Australian Open crown.