Former French Open director Guy Forget has claimed that Rafael Nadal winning 14 French Open titles is the greatest achievement in sporting history. Forget said he considers the Spaniard a greater athlete than even Muhammad Ali, Pele, and Michael Jordan.
Ali, Pele, and Jordan transcended the sport of boxing, football, and basketball respectively, and are widely regarded as three of the greatest athletes of all time.
In a recent conversation with Le Parisien, Guy Forget was asked to explain where Nadal stood in the pantheon of sporting legends. The former World No. 4 stressed that he considers Nadal the greatest athlete ever.
"For me, Rafael Nadal has achieved the greatest feat in the entire history of sport. Period. He is above Ali, Pelé or Jordan," Guy Forget said.
When asked to explain why he rates Nadal so highly, the 57-year-old pointed to the Spaniard winning the French Open 14 times in an ultra-competitive era of tennis.
He also highlighted how the Spaniard has triumphed at one Major as many times as Pete Sampras has triumphed at all four Majors combined.
"Try to find in a discipline as popular as tennis, not in a sport that has 25 licensees in the world, a champion who is able to win 14 times the toughest tournament on the planet, the most difficult thing that exists," said Forget. "There are not any. We said when Borg won Roland-Garros six times, it's monstrous, no one will do better."
"Sampras has won 14 Grand Slam titles. Nadal has won Roland-Garros 14 times. It's unimaginable," he added.
"It doesn't just surprise me, it surprises everyone" - Guy Forget on Rafael Nadal winning 14 French Open titles
During the interview, Guy Forget was asked if Nadal's feats continue to surprise him. The Frenchman responded in the affirmative and said he could never have imagined the Spaniard winning so many times in Paris.
"It doesn't (just) surprise me, it surprises everyone," Forget said. "If it had been said a few years ago that someone would win the same Grand Slam tournament 14 times, no one would have believed it. It was impossible to envisage and, the best part, is that it is an ongoing series."
Rafael Nadal played the 2022 French Open with anesthetic injections to his foot to help him cope with the pain from his recurring foot injury. He revealed that the injections were targeted towards his nerves which left certain areas of his foot, especially the pain receptors, numb.
Forget reckons playing with anesthesia is a better option than playing through pain.
"Playing with a sleepy foot is always better than playing with a sore foot," said the Frenchman. "If his doctors accepted this treatment, it was because they were sure not to put his health in great danger. What I hope over time is that the pain that haunts him will fade."