Rafael Nadal expected to be retired, rather than winning an 11th French Open title, by the time he turned 32. But with his 17th Grand Slam tournament win on Sunday, the veteran Spaniard once again defended his clay-court throne—and also secured the No. 1 ranking.
"I would say that I am an ordinary person who has done something difficult," Nadal was quoted in Marca the day after his victory. "I have won 86 of the 88 [matches] I have played, and maybe in 75 of those, I have gone out thinking that I could win or I could lose—I think this is part of the basis of my success."
While happy with his play from the quarterfinals onward, Nadal suggested that he struggled with his backhand during the first few rounds. The world No. 1 also said that in his recent training, he had been concentrating on varying the position of his shots.
"It helped that the [French Open] court is much bigger than the others," he said. "I have worked in a different way this season but I have worked very little because of the [injury] problems I had."
Though surprised to be still playing, Nadal reiterated his commitment to the game.
"At this age I thought I would be retired and have a family," Nadal said. "The years are going on but it depends on what happens with my tennis and with my career; there will come a time when a decision must be made and when it arrives, it will come without any kind of stress. These are natural things that you go through in life.
"I also have a partner and it's not just me who decides things."
WATCH—Go inside the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca:
Nadal was scheduled to play next week's grass-court event at Queen's Club, but withdrew in a preventative measure in order to be ready for Wimbledon.
"Queen's is a great event, I have happy memories of winning the title in 2008 and I wanted to come back this year," Nadal said in a statement. "But it has been a very long clay court season for me with great results. I have spoken to my doctors and I need to listen to what my body is telling me."
Queen's is one of the main warm-up tournaments for Wimbledon, which begins on July 2.