Surpassing Roger Federer in Grand Slam record race ‘not an obsession’, says Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal says he does not feel any pressure to move past Roger Federer in the race for most Grand Slam titles, saying “that will not be the key for my happiness”.

The race between Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic to win the most majors titles has intensified in recent years and Nadal’s 13th French Open title last year saw him draw level with Federer on 20 Grand Slams.

The Spaniard and Federer are now the joint-milestone holders for the most Grand Slam singles titles won by a man, though the world No 2 insists that holding the record outright is not a huge motivation for him.

Speaking to CNN, Nadal said: “I did much more than what I ever dreamed in my tennis career. It would be amazing for me to win one more. But I know that will not be the key for my happiness in the future. It’s not extra pressure and it’s not an obsession.

“I keep going, doing it my way. If it happens, fantastic, but if not, I’m more than happy about everything that happened to me.”

Many believe that Nadal will break the record this year with Federer, who has not played in a year, out of the Australian Open as he continues his recovery from surgery.

The Swiss, who will turn 40 in August, won his 20th Grand Slam at the Australian Open three years ago and Nadal says following in Federer’s footsteps has inspired him throughout his career.

He said: “To have somebody in front of you that’s doing a lot of things better than you, it gives you a clear way about what you need to improve to achieve your goals.

“I think we always had a good relationship, a lot of respect. We did beautiful things together and important things for our sport. We push each other to be better.”

Nadal will be the second seed at the Australian Open and will be looking for a second title at the tournament, having beaten Federer in the final 12 years ago. He has been the runner-up in Melbourne four times since then.

Victory this year would see him move past Federer and also see him become the first man in the Open Era to win each Grand Slam singles title on multiple occasions.

Follow Oli Jefford on Twitter @odicksonjefford.

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