Rafael Nadal seized an unprecedented record when he won his twelfth title of the French Open on Sunday, but says that equalizing the number of victories Roger Federer in 20 Grand Slams will not become an obsession.
The Spaniard proved once again that he is invincible on Parisian clay by beating Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 and 6-1 on his favourite track Philippe Chatrier.
No other player has won the same Grand Slam title as many times as his dozen at Roland Garros, as Sunday’s triumph has led him to surpass the 11 Australian Open titles of Margaret Court.
A few hours after he left the track, the 33-year-old Spaniard told him that he is now just two titles away from Federer’s 37-year-old record with time on his side.
Nadal, however, was content to enjoy the moment.
“To be honest, I’m not too worried about these things, right?” Nadal told reporters.
“You can’t be frustrated all the time because the neighbor has a bigger house than you, or a bigger TV or a better garden. That’s not the way I see life.
Nadal has suffered more injuries throughout his career than Federer and that the world number one, Serbian Novak Djokovic, who is third in the list of great champions of all time with 15.
Even this season he has suffered knee injuries, having been forced to give up his semifinal against Federer at Indian Wells before retiring from Miami.
His knees were still bothering him as he began his favourite season, the European clay court, which he has dominated.
“I lost, I think, about 15 or even more Grand Slams in my career by injuries,” Nadal said. “So it’s been difficult.
Seeing him repel swordsman Thiem on Sunday with the intensity and willpower that has marked his career, it was hard to believe that a few weeks ago in Barcelona suffered a crisis of confidence.
Thiem beat him in consecutive sets in Barcelona and Nadal said it was in that tournament that he realized he needed to change his mentality.
“Mentally, I lost a little energy because I had too many problems in a row,” he said.
“Mentally, I wasn’t enjoying myself. Too much concern for health and, to be honest, too negative.
“After the first round in Barcelona, I was able to stay only a couple of hours in the room and think about it and what’s going on, what I need to do.
“One possibility would have been to stop for a while and get my body back. And the other was to drastically change my attitude and mentality to play the next two weeks.
Sunday’s exhibition showed that you made the right decision.