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I'd like my kids to grow up with the values of sport, but being a pro athlete is very difficult: Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal celebrates victory with the ball boys following his 2019 French Open title
Rafael Nadal celebrates victory with the ball boys following his 2019 French Open title
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Modified 23 Oct 2020, 17:08 IST
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Rafael Nadal is one of the greatest tennis players of all time, if not the greatest. He has won 20 Grand Slams, tied for the most in men's tennis history with Roger Federer, and is far and away the most dominant claycourter to have ever existed.

However, Nadal still believes that becoming a professional athlete is 'very, very difficult'. The Spaniard recently admitted that if he has children in the future, he is not sure he would want them to follow in his footsteps.

The World No. 2 Nadal, whose next scheduled tennis event is the ATP Paris Masters at the end of this month, was asked about his thoughts on having children in an interaction with El Periodico. The interviewer particularly mentioned Nadal's close friend Pau Gasol - who became a father recently - and questioned the Spaniard whether that had influenced his plans.

"It neither encourages me nor does it stop encouraging me," Nadal replied. "We (my wife and I) are clear about our roadmap and, when it (children) comes, it will come." 
"I would like that, if I have children, they would grow up with the values that sport brings, because it is a very positive environment," Nadal added. "But from there to (being professional) tennis players is very difficult, and I don't know!"

During the interview, Rafael Nadal was also asked whether his marriage last year to long-time girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello had changed him in any way.

"Me? No, no," Nadal responded. "Mery and I have been together for 16 years. It (the wedding day) was a very nice day. Although I'm not very given to this kind of thing, we had a great time."

The theory that Roland Garros organizers changed the balls this year to make me lose is absurd: Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal recently won his record 13th French Open title in Paris, to tie Roger Federer at 20 Grand Slams. Prior to the event, many had speculated that the different weather conditions in autumn as well as the different balls being used this year (organizers had switched from using Babolat to Wilson balls this year) would adversely affect the Spaniard's chances. 

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Rafael Nadal during the men
Rafael Nadal during the men's singles final against Novak Djokovic at the 2020 French Open

Some of his fans even went to the extent to suggest that the organizers had changed the balls so that Nadal would not win the tournament again. But Rafael Nadal dismissed that notion as 'absurd' and 'outrageous'.

"Please, I have heard and read that the theories on the Roland Garros balls, yes, and it is absurd, an outrage," Nadal said. "Roland Garros changed its sponsor and the new sponsor makes their own balls. My relationship with Roland Garros is excellent, I have no complaints, neither from the public nor from the organization. My feeling is that every year they are very, very happy that I win."
Published 23 Oct 2020, 17:08 IST
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