Madrid, June 11 (IANS) Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal believes he is playing better tennis than anyone in the world right now, but says he is a lot happier to be winning tournaments than to hold the number one ranking.
The Spaniard capped off an incredible clay-court season with a win over fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the final of the French Open Championship Sunday for his eighth Roland Garros title, reports Xinhua.
On the way to the final, Nadal showed he truly is the king of clay courts with a dramatic five-set win over Novak Djokovic in the semis in what was the game of the tournament
Nadal’s win means he has now won the French title an incredible eight times and achieved something that nobody has ever done in the history of Grand Slam events — win the same tournament more than seven times.
Meanwhile, the success in Paris follows on from his triumphs in Madrid and Monte Carlo earlier in the season and is seventh tournament success this year, a fact made all the more incredible given that he only returned in February after missing seven months with a serious knee injury, which had threatened the 27-year-old’s career.
Nadal has taken all of the headlines in the Spanish papers Monday although he prefers not to look back on his success.
“What I know right now is that I am the best player of the year, or at least of the first half of the year,” he said in an interview published in sports paper, Diario AS.
“The fact I have been the best player in the first half of the year gives me an advantage in being number one in the world again and that could happen if I carry on playing like this, but being number one is not what makes me the happiest. I’d rather play games like the final in Paris and be in condition to be able to win it.”
“Everyone would rather be number one, than number two or number three, but I didn’t get out of bed feeling happier when I was number one, than when I was number two,” explained Nadal.
Nadal’s next major tournament will see him return to the grass of Wimbledon, which is probably his weakest playing surface and where he lost in the second round last year as his knee injury took its toll.
“I want to make it clear that I have never said I am not going to play at Wimbledon, but I won’t be playing in Halle (Switzerland),” he explained.
“That means it will be the first time that I have gone from Paris to Wimbledon without having played on grass beforehand. That is not the best way to prepare for Wimbledon, which is a difficult tournament to predict,” explained the Spaniard.
Nadal added that if he was able to progress through the first two or three rounds then his options in the competition would improve considerably as he adjusted to the faster playing surface.
“What I want is to be able to continue in good form and to carry on competing well,” he said.