After winning his record eighth Roland Garros title, Rafael Nadal admits that he wasn’t positive that his knee would hold up when he returned to the tour in February after taking seven months off to rehabilitate his injury.
“I am a positive guy,” he said. “But the doubts are part of this life. People who don't have [doubt] are so arrogant. The doubts are in everything. Nothing is clear in this world, I think. So I for sure have doubts, but I work as much as I can to be here. So that's the only thing I can do. I can have doubts, yes, but if I don't work, it's sure that I will not be back.”
Nadal’s uncle and coach Toni said that he believes that his nephew can reach the No.1 ranking again. Nadal will be ranked No. 5 when the rankings are released on Monday, but he only has 90 points to defend the rest of the year. Former Wimbledon champion Manolo Santana has also said that Nadal can pass Roger Federer’s record of 17 Grand Slam titles.
“In an athlete's life there are ups and downs, but I'm quite a stable guy,” Nadal said. “I'm not going too high up or too low down. My perspectives are normal. Of course, winning 17 Grand Slam titles, that's miles away from me. I'm not even thinking about it. Next tournament is Wimbledon. Okay, fine. As for my ranking, being No. 1, so far I was the best for this year, but there are still six months ahead of us. So I have an edge, but not a big one. Yes, it's true, I could be No. 1 again if I continue playing at this level, if I'm not injured, But this is not 100 percent sure.
“Being No. 1 gives you lots of enthusiasm, but is it the greatest happiness in an athlete's career? Well, no. I think playing a match like today gave me far more pleasure than knowing I was No. 1. What really makes me happy is arriving on a tournament feeling I'm ready to fight against any opponent and that I'm in a good position to win the tournament. The rest does not make me any more happy. Of course everyone prefers to be No. 1 than 3 or 4. But in the morning I didn't get up any happier when I was No. 1 than when I was No. 2.”