Terming Rafael Nadal’s 13th French Open and 20th Grand Slam victory ‘one of sports greatest achievements’, Roger Federer on Saturday hailed the Spaniard as his ‘greatest rival over the years’.
Nadal blew away Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to add a 13th Roland Garros to his four US Opens, two Wimbledons and one Australian Open crown and equal Federer’s all-time record of 20 Grand Slams.
“I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and a champion,” wrote Federer, who sat out the tournament to recover from knee surgery.
“As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players.
“Therefore it is a true honour for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory.
“It is especially amazing that he has won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times which is one of the greatest achievements in sport.
“I hope the 20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us.”
Nadal now has 100 match wins on Paris’ famous crushed red brick against just two defeats in 15 years. He had described this year’s delayed tournament as his “most difficult ever” but powered to the title without losing a set.
(With agency inputs)