Rafa Nadal's telling response to question about Novak Djokovic

Rafa Nadal, pictured here being asked about the men's tennis GOAT race after winning the French Open.
Rafa Nadal was asked about the men's tennis GOAT race after winning the French Open. Image: Getty

Rafa Nadal says he isn't concerned about being regarded as the best male player in tennis history despite extending his lead over Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the all-time grand slam race.

Nadal won his 14th French Open title on Sunday, brutally thrashing Casper Ruud in the final 6-3 6-3 6-0.

In doing so he won the 22nd grand slam title of his storied career, moving two ahead of Djokovic and Federer on 20.

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Speaking on Eurosport's coverage of the final, Mats Wilander declared Nadal the men's GOAT - greatest of all time.

“I would think it must be [the sweetest title for Nadal]," Wilander said.

"First of all, he didn’t know if he was going to be able to play, every morning when he woke up. But now [we must] focus on not 14… but 22!

"He’s two ahead of Novak and Roger now, and this could be the reason that he goes down as the greatest player of all time.

"Again, he’s so humble and in the present moment that it seems like he’s going to keep going."

But according to Nadal, he doesn't really care whether or not he goes down as the greatest ever.

When asked in his post-match press conference about extending his lead over Djokovic and Federer, he said: "It’s not about being the best of the history, or the records, it’s about ‘I like what I do'.

"We achieved our dreams, Roger, Novak, me.

"The competition to be the best is not my motivation. It is to live moments, to play in front of crowds. And the passion for the sport."

Rafa Nadal, pictured here speaking to the media after winning the French Open.
Rafa Nadal speaks to the media after winning the French Open. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Rafa Nadal plans to play at Wimbledon

British great Tim Henman said he never thought Nadal would be two ahead of Djokovic and Federer at this stage of their careers.

"That is incredibly exciting. In terms of who is going to end up with the most amount of grand slams," he said on Eurosport.

"A couple of years ago I would have said Djokovic, for sure. But right now, with that little bit of distance, I think Nadal has got a great chance.

"It’s going to be fascinating to see. You have got another opportunity in three weeks’ time so fingers crossed, I so hope Rafa can be there on grass (at Wimbledon).

"When you have won as much as he has, you just never know what’s around the corner. I think he has been very frank, and very honest, to say that he doesn’t know if he is going to be back here.

Rafa Nadal, pictured here celebrating with the French Open trophy after winning at Roland Garros for the 14th time.
Rafa Nadal celebrates with the French Open trophy after winning at Roland Garros for the 14th time. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

"But when you see a performance like that, it was just another clay-court masterclass. You would have thought that when he wins these big titles – don’t forget he’s won the Australian Open, the French Open, now you can talk about the Grand Slam being on.

"Surely it is going to motivate him to keep on going. That’s what we are keeping our fingers crossed for because it’s a privilege to see one of the greatest champions in our sport playing like that."

Speaking after the match, Nadal said he plans to play at Wimbledon if his troublesome foot allows him to.

The Spanish champion revealed he had pain-killing injections in his left foot to play the French Open, but said he wouldn't do the same for Wimbledon.

“I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I’m going to keep fighting," he said.

"Wimbledon is a priority. If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes [I will play], but with anaesthetic injections, no [I won’t play].

"I don’t want to put myself in that position again. It’s not a philosophy I want to follow.

"Wimbledon is not a tournament I want to miss, it’s not a tournament anyone wants to miss.

"I love Wimbledon. I’ve had a lot of success there. A player like me, I’m always ready to play Wimbledon.”

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