Rafael Nadal: ‘GOAT race vs. Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer is not always on my mind’

Thanks to his incredible run between the Australian Open 2017-18, Roger Federer extended his Major tally and remained in the GOAT race with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the dominant figures in a previous couple of years. Nadal conquered Roland Garros and the US Open in 2019 to move one Major crown behind Roger, trying to catch him at the last year’s Roland Garros in October. Due to the pandemic, Nadal had stayed at home in Mallorca for six months between March and September 2020, recharging batteries and working on clay ahead of Rome and Roland Garros. Keeping the points from the last season, Nadal skipped the US Open and returned to the court at Foro Italico, 200 days after his previous match in Acapulco. After two victories, Rafa lost to Diego Schwartzman in straight sets, falling 6-2, 7-5 and moving back to the practice court ahead of the season’s last Major at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal spoke about the GOAT race ahead of Roland Garros 2020.

Following the third-round victory over Dusan Lajovic in Rome, Nadal said he can’t always think about the GOAT race against Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. The Spaniard claimed he wants to do things his way, as always in the previous two decades, hoping for more chances to fight for Major trophies. Heading to Roland Garros eager to extend his dominance, Nadal defeated all seven rivals in straight sets to claim a historic 20th Major crown that put him on the level terms with Roger Federer for the first time in a career. Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are separated by two Majors ahead of this week’s Roland Garros, and they are all packed in the top half. 

“When you ask me about Roger Federer’s record, I always say the same. I made my entire career in my way and will keep doing that. I’m not obsessed with those 20 Major titles; I can’t always think about Roger or Novak Djokovic and our race for most Majors. I know journalists put a lot of attention on that. I would love to finish my career at 25 Majors, but that’s unlikely to happen. I’m going to fight and create chances; we will see when I finish my career. I want to keep enjoying tennis, that’s all. If I’m playing on a high level, I’m a Major contender. If not, it’s impossible to win it,” Rafael Nadal said.