MADRID: Eight-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal said in an interview published yesterday that he is not setting his sights on Roger Federer’s record of 17 Grand Slam titles, despite claiming his 12th at Roland Garros last weekend.
A comfortable three-set victory over compatriot David Ferrer moved Nadal into joint third on the all-time list of Grand Slam winners alongside Australian Roy Emerson.
That came after he only recently returned from seven months out with a knee injury.
But Nadal claimed he was happy just to be on the court again.
“It is something that right now I see as light years away, it is not something I am planning,” he said of Federer’s record in an interview with Spanish sports daily Marca.
Nadal’s form since returning to the tour in February has been remarkable.
He said he was delighted with how his knee has reacted to such a heavy workload throughout the clay court season.
“Three months ago I was limp. At the start I was very sore but with the competition the feelings didn’t get worse but better and this is great news.
“In the next few days I will have the knee checked after many consecutive weeks without doing so. I hope that the results are satisfactory because it has held up very well.”
Having retained his French Open title, the 27-year-old’s attention now turns to trying to win a third title on the grass at Wimbledon.
The Spaniard will miss a planned warm-up event at Halle, Germany, to ensure he is well-rested on his arrival in southwest London, but admitted that could make him susceptible to an upset in the early rounds.
Hewitt downs Russell to end losing streak
Lleyton Hewitt admitted he was relieved to be back on his favourite grass court as the Australian ended his losing streak with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over America’s Michael Russell in the first round at Queen’s Club on Monday.
Hewitt is a four-time champion at the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event, but thoughts of a record fifth crown were some way from the former world number one’s mind as he arrived in west London.
The 32-year-old is well into the twilight of his career and his lowly 82nd position in the world rankings reflects that diminished status.
“It’s one of my favourite events,” he said. “I have always enjoyed getting off the clay anyway and onto the grass.
“I have had such a good record here. Most times it’s taken pretty good players to beat me here.
“I still enjoy the big tournaments. Obviously Wimbledon and the Australian Open are two of my favourite tournaments.
“I don’t know how long I’ll play for. I’m not going to keep answering that every day.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2013.