Watching Rafael Nadal overcome what looked like intense back pain to win the French Open for the ninth time made me remember why I loved watching tennis back in the days of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Maybe that is because Nadal matched Sampras’ Grand Slam titles total at 14, and I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate the Spaniard for that accomplishment.
Now it is time for the real question.
Will the French Open’s nine time champion ever pass Roger Federer’s current Grand Slam total of 17?
I say yes. Obviously, he can probably win another couple Slams in France, but I would not count him out at Wimbledon this year either.
One of the things that made Sampras great was because even late in his career he was able to push his body to its absolute limit of pain and endurance. I think Nadal has those same qualities, and that he still has a lot of tennis left in him even though his knees have taken their punishment over the years.
He is also a gentleman, which is another reason that I have always respected him. He showed class after the match by wishing his opponent Novak Djokovic luck at Roland Garros in the future.
“Sorry for him today. I think he deserves to win this tournament,” Nadal said after the four set victory. “I am sure he will do it in the future.”
I am sure the Spanish superstar is not quite done at Roland Garros either, and he could go for number 10 next season.