Latest Stories

Tennis: Fear of failure drives on record-breaking Nadal


Rafael Nadal. AFP FILE PHOTO

PARIS – Rafael Nadal admitted on Monday that a deep-seated fear of failure drove him to a record seventh French Open title and will keep him playing until his love of the sport finally drains away.

The 26-year-old Spaniard refuses to accept the crown as the greatest claycourt player of all time, despite surpassing Bjorn Borg’s six Roland Garros triumphs which he matched last year.

With 11 Grand Slam titles under his belt, he is steadily closing in on Roger Federer’s record of 16 and has time on his side being almost five years the Swiss star’s junior.

“I have always been scared of losing,” confessed Nadal, after his 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 win over world number one Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros final which had been held over from Sunday because of rain.

“That’s why I always have full respect for opponents, knowing I can win or lose. I have kept that focus for eight years.”

His record on clay makes impressive reading — seven French Opens, eight Monte Carlo Masters, seven Barcelona titles, six Rome Masters and 50 career titles in all on all surfaces.

“It is not for me to say if I am one of the best. I have probably had the best results and it’s a great and emotional thing to win seven French Opens,” said Nadal, whose career record in Paris now stands at 52 wins and just one defeat.

“But the important thing is to win Roland Garros, whether it’s the first time, sixth or seventh.”

His coach and uncle, Toni Nadal claimed in the immediate aftermath of Monday’s win that his nephew was unfortunate to be playing at the same time as Djokovic and Roger Federer.

The inference being that Nadal would have many more than the 11 majors he currently holds.

Of the last 34 Grand Slam tournaments, 31 have been shared between the world’s top three.

Juan Martin del Potro was the last man to break the stranglehold when he won the 2009 US Open.

“I feel lucky to have achieved the things that I have,” said Nadal. “I have great rivals and even in such an era of fantastic players, I am happy to have won as many matches as I have. I am a lucky man.”

Unlike Borg, Nadal insists he has no intention of following the Swede’s example of retiring at the peak of his career.

That is despite his long-standing battles against knee injuries which have often threatened to derail his career.

“I will be here until injuries restrict either me or my chances of playing. I will keep going as long as the motivation and the passion are with me,” he said.

“Hopefully that will be for a long time yet. I will keep working hard every day, that’s my goal and to keep improving, to wake up and have the passion to practice. When that changes, I will say ‘goodbye guys’ but that’s not the case today.”

Djokovic had defeated Nadal in the finals at Wimbledon, the US Open and Australian Open and needed victory on Monday to join Don Budge and Rod Laver as only the third man to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once.

But those triumphs had come on grass and hard courts.

Clay, however, is a different matter.

“He is definitely the best player in history on this surface and his results are showing that he’s one of the best ever players that played this game,” said Djokovic.

“I mean, he’s only 26 years old. We are very young, and we played over 30 times against each other, and hopefully we can have many more battles in the next years.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: French Open , Rafael Nadal , Sports , Tennis

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  2. Freddie Roach: I’m satisfied; Manny Pacquiao did well
  3. My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
  4. After Pacquiao, BIR chief Henares runs after boxing fans
  5. Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  6. Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  7. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed
  8. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
  9. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
  10. San Miguel Beer clinches 2nd spot after comeback win over Air21
  1. ‘Mommy D’ steals show as son fights
  2. Pacquiao wins unanimous decision vs Bradley to reclaim WBO title
  3. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
  4. Manny Pacquiao: I’ll have everything back
  5. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
  6. Pacquiao punching power ‘way harder’ in first fight—Bradley
  7. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed
  8. My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
  9. Pacquiao ‘strong, faster’ for tiff
  10. Bradley to Pacquiao: You better be ready
  1. ‘Mommy D’ steals show as son fights
  2. Pacquiao wins unanimous decision vs Bradley to reclaim WBO title
  3. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
  4. Mayweather surprise visitor to Bradley camp
  5. Bradley won’t last distance– Peñalosa
  6. Manny Pacquiao: I’ll have everything back
  7. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
  8. Pacquiao punching power ‘way harder’ in first fight—Bradley
  9. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed
  10. Tapering off: Pacquiao already at 147 lb


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace