‘There is no greater competitor in my eyes than Rafael Nadal’, says expert

Rafael Nadal is ready to return to the pitch at the Mutua Madrid Open. The former world number 1 was forced to miss his first rounds on clay due to a stress fracture in his rib which he sustained during the Indian Wells semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz. The Spanish phenomenon had a dream start to the season, in which he proved for the umpteenth time that he is a legend of modern sport. Fresh from a long stop due to injury and arrived in Melbourne without great expectations, the 35-year-old from Manacor won the Australian Open against all odds. Rafa has therefore hoisted himself to 21 Majors, overtaking Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time ranking. The Iberian has also become the fourth man in history to have won all Grand Slams at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson). The Majorcan will try to stretch further at Roland Garros, where he will hunt for his 14th seal. Speaking to the Tennis Channel, former world number 1 in doubles Mark Knowles praised Nadal’s competitive spirit.

Knowles praises Rafa Nadal

“I mean have you ever seen a better competitor in any sport?” Knowles said. “I mean, I’ve gone on record with a lot of people and I respect every single athlete, I mean I am a sports fanatic, the Jordans, the Woods, the Gretzkys, there is no greater competitor in my eyes than Rafael Nadal. And the reason I say that is, you break down tennis, we’ve all played matches, whether it be 40-0, whether it be 4-0, where your mindset is ‘I’m not going to give a hundred per cent. I’ve been around the game for a long time,” Knowles said. “I’ve played, watched and commentated Rafael Nadal. I’ve never seen him not give a hundred per cent on a point, I never have. If someone has, please send me a clip of it because I haven’t. So if you really break that down, think about how crazy that is. He’s never taken a play off and it speaks of his mentality, I mean, he is one of the greatest champions in any sport and, nothing but admiration for Rafael Nadal.” The Madrid Open men’s draw is finally out today, while the women’s event is already underway. The draw presented us with some fantastic first-round match-ups. Also, there is a possibility we could see some even more entertaining match-ups in the later stages of the tournament.