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"He’s Hercules, he will go down as one of if not the greatest of the game and he’s still got more to come" - Craig Tiley on Rafael Nadal

Craig Tiley reflects on Rafael Nadal's title triumph at the French Open
Craig Tiley reflects on Rafael Nadal's title triumph at the French Open
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Aayush Majumdar

The legend of Rafael Nadal continues to grow following his record-extending 14th French Open triumph. While his victory is stunning in itself, the fact that he beat a number of top players, including Novak Djokovic, while struggling with a chronic foot injury, makes it all the more special.

Speaking on an episode of The AO Show podcast, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley likened the Kind of Clay to Hercules, the Greek God known for his incredible strength, courage, and intelligence.

"I mean he’s Hercules! There’s just nothing else you can say about him, and I think he even surprises his own team. He will go down as one of if not the greatest of the game and he’s still got more to come," Tiley said during the chat.

Tiley, who is also the tournament director of the Australian Open, further highlighted the magnitude of Nadal's feat at Roland Garros by stressing on the difficult draw he had to come through.

The 36-year-old defeated Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively, before dominating an in-form Casper Ruud in the final.

"So for him to do that and get through that draw, to win it and win it as convincingly as he did in the finals, is honestly remarkable," Tiley said.
King of Clay x 14 👑@RafaelNadal remains undefeated in Paris finals, conquering Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 for a 14th title#RolandGarros https://t.co/GctcC17Ah8

He also revealed that he spoke to the Mallorcan's team, who were themselves surprised by his achievements.

"Well interestingly while talking to Rafa’s team over the last couple of days, they’re just as surprised as the rest of us are, because never did Rafa himself think that," said Tiley.

Tiley also reflected on Nadal's incredible run at the 2022 Australian Open, where he won the title after a six-month layoff, breaking the all-time Grand Slam record in the process.

"Last year in November he was staring into being off the game for atleast six months because of his foot injury and he trained in November December, wasn’t making much progress but decided anyway to come to Australia and then ended up winning the Australian Open, and got 21 slams and to be ahead of Novak and Roger," Tiley said.

"With each game he won, the roar from the crowd was louder; people were absolutely hollering his name" - Courtney Walsh on Rafael Nadal

2022 French Open - Day Fifteen
2022 French Open - Day Fifteen

Australian tennis journalist Courtney Walsh, who was also part of the podcast, highlighted the level of crowd support that Nadal received throughout the fortnight in Paris.

"Look, I think people are just so happy to have seen a legend. There were some concerns beforehand, perhaps, you know maybe this might be his last appearance, on court he said he’ll keep fighting for as long as he can," Walsh said.
"With each game that he won, the roar from the crowd was louder and louder and louder and by the end, not surprisingly, a standing ovation. People were absolutely hollering his name, delighted to see 14th title, and 22nd overall, truly extraordinary."

Following his triumph in Paris, Nadal revealed that he will undergo a new form of treatment for his injured foot and its success will determine his participation in this year's Wimbledon Championships.


Edited by Anirudh
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