Roger Federer coach's staggering move after Rafa Nadal triumph

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Ivan Ljubicic, pictured here with Roger Federer at the 2018 Australian Open.
Roger Federer's coach Ivan Ljubicic has paid tribute to Rafa Nadal. Image: Getty

Roger Federer's coach Ivan Ljubicic has paid a classy tribute to Rafa Nadal, calling on the French Open to rename centre court in the Spanish champion's honour.

Nadal won his 14th title at Roland Garros on Sunday, beating Casper Ruud in the final 6-3 6-3 6-0.

In doing so, the 36-year-old became the oldest champion in French Open history and extended his men's record grand slam haul to 22.

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Nadal is now two grand slam titles ahead of great rivals Federer and Novak Djokovic, who are tied for second with 20 majors.

But Federer's coach put the rivalry aside on Sunday in the wake of Nadal's historic triumph, calling on Roland Garros to rename Court Philippe-Chatrier in Nadal's honour.

"Not many PLAYED 14 Roland Garros tournaments. He won it 14 times," Ljubicic tweeted.

"There is no word to describe this feat. Don't think good old Philippe would mind if his court changes the name to Rafael Nadal - statue is not enough."

To put Nadal's unprecedented feats at the French Open into context, he has now won the same number of titles at the clay-court grand slam as American great Pete Sampras won at all the majors combined.

The Spaniard is 14-0 in French Open finals and his overall record at Roland Garros is now a staggering 112-3.

Two of those losses came against Djokovic, who Nadal beat in four sets in the quarter-finals this year.

When asked about the GOAT debate and how it feels to be two ahead of Djokovic and Federer, Nadal's response was telling.

"It’s not about being the best of the history, or the records, it’s about ‘I like what I do'," he said.

"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."

What's next for Rafa Nadal after French Open?

While Nadal vowed to 'keep fighting' in his post-match victory speech, there are lingering concerns about his immediate future in tennis due to a chronic foot issue.

The 36-year-old revealed he received pain-killing injections throughout the French Open, including before Sunday's final against Ruud.

And while declaring his intentions to play at Wimbledon later this month, Nadal said he wouldn't do so if it meant getting more injections.

"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]," he said in his press conference.

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

Rafa Nadal, pictured here during the trophy presentation after winning the French Open.
Rafa Nadal celebrates during the trophy presentation after winning the French Open. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

"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.”

Giving details on what steps he will take to play the grass-court major, he said: "It's going to be a radio frequency injection on the nerve and trying to burn a little bit the nerve and create the impact that I have now on the nerve for a long period of time.

"That's what we are going to try. If that works, I'm going to keep going. If that does not work, then it's going to be another story.

"And then I am going to ask myself if I am ready to do a major thing without being sure that things are going the proper way, for example.

"A major surgery that doesn't guarantee me to be able to be competitive again and take a long time to be back (is a risk). So let's do it step by step, as I did all my tennis career."

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