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"I cannot stop them": Federer "can only control" his side of Slam race
Rafael Nadal, who trails the Swiss by one major, added, "I just gave my best all my career to be in the position that I am today."
Published Dec 23, 2019
Roger Federer says he's "okay" with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic starting to approach his Grand Slam record, noting achieving it was a special experience for him and would be the same for them.
For Nadal, he's going to be concentrating on playing his best rather than getting the Grand Slam record when he returns to court next season.
Federer has won 20 Grand Slams, the most in the men's game. Nadal, currently ranked No. 1, has 19, while No. 2-ranked Djokovic has 16 majors. Both won two Slams each this season and are more than four years younger than Federer.
While in Quito, Ecuador for his South American tour, Federer was asked by El Comericoabout his rivals potentially breaking his record. "It's okay," he said. "I mean, I cannot stop them. What [I can] do is only control what I can control."
Federer set the benchmark by winning the 2009 Wimbledon, his 15th Grand Slam victory, and would extend it further several times.
"The special moment was breaking the record, not having the record," said Federer, recalling he was "proud and very happy" when he surpassed Pete Sampras. "And they should also be very happy when that happens."
Nadal and Djokovic's haul will depend on whether they keep winning and keep competing on tour, said Federer, adding, "They are truly incredible players."
The Spaniard experienced frequent injuries this season and throughout his career. Though the 33-year-old is aware he's closing in on the record, Nadal’s attention is first and foremost with his fitness and his game.
"I have to do my things the best way possible and then to just give myself chances to keep being competitive at the highest level possible," he told press at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition in Abu Dhabi.
"So if that happens, great, if not, I just gave my best all my career to be in the position that I am today. And obviously of course, increas[ing] the number of 20, or tying 20, [would] be something amazing, but I cannot complain at all. I’m super happy [with] the way I am having my tennis career, I gave my best all the time and I’m proud about the way I worked and the way I enjoyed the tennis during all these years."
Federer’s aiming to keep contending for the biggest titles, having triumphed at Dubai, Miami, Halle and Basel, and reaching the final of Wimbledon in 2019.
"The No. 1 goal is to stay healthy, because if I stay healthy I can achieve things," he said. "And I'd like to achieve still a few things."
Nadal noted he had been back training for around two weeks, just a few weeks since he finished his season by leading Spain to its first Davis Cup title since 2011.