Francis Roig has hailed Rafael Nadal’s transformation, describing it as “spectacular” and adding that he is continuously “discovering new things and enjoying tennis”.
Nadal turned professional at the age of 15 in 2001 and 18 years later he is still going strong as he won a 12th title at Roland Garros and then took his Grand Slam tally to 19 with victory at the US Open.
He capped off a brilliant year by finishing the campaign as the world No 1 for a fifth time, and then helped Spain to win the Davis Cup for a sixth time.
Nadal, though, has been forced to change his approach in recent years and Roig is impressed with the 33-year-old’s “evolution”.
“It has been spectacular,” he told Elperiodico.com. “The Nadal we see now is completely different from the one who won his first Roland Garros [title in 2005].
“Rafa has reinvented himself. He is discovering new things and enjoying tennis. His serve is better, he has a backhand that opens the court more and I think he still has other things he can improve,” emphasising “his training capacity… is brutal. He does not rest until he achieves his goals.”
Nadal’s success at Flushing Meadows means he is now just one Grand Slam behind Roger Federer’s record of 20.
Of course, most debates these days centre around who is the greatest tennis player of all time, but Roig feels it is hard to separate them.
“It is very difficult to assess who is better or the better tennis player, but as an athlete he [Nadal] is among the best in the world, no doubt,” he said.
“Rafa is great with everything he does. When he retires he will be one of the greatest in world sport.”
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