'Rafael Nadal is going to win RG 40 years in a row' - Almagro repeats iconic comment

Rafael Nadal after winning the French Open in 2012
Rafael Nadal after winning the French Open in 2012

2020 has changed a lot of things, including the tennis world. At this particular time of the year, the question on most tennis fans' lips usually is, "Will Rafael Nadal win the French Open title again?" But now, everything is different.

When the fans should be enjoying the red dirt's finest artists standing firmly behind the baseline and relentlessly slapping a yellow fuzzy ball back and forth at each other, they are instead asking whether the French Open will take place at all this year. The fate of the tournament still hangs in the balance, even after being pushed back to September.

But one thing that hasn't changed is Nicolas Almagro's belief in Rafael Nadal's claycourt supremacy.

Nicolas Almagro's ultimate compliment to Rafael Nadal, circa 2008

Nicolas Almagro in motion hitting his famous one-handed backhand
Nicolas Almagro in motion hitting his famous one-handed backhand

We all remember Almagro's iconic monologue (or, given the situation he found himself in during that match, should we call it a rant?) during his quarterfinal against Nadal at Roland Garros 2008.

Serving down 1-6, 1-4 and facing a break point, a desperate Almagro looked towards his box and famously said:

"This guy is going to win Roland Garros 40 years in a row. He will be 65 years old and will continue to win Roland Garros."

Well, Nadal certainly hasn't won the French Open for 40 years in a row yet, and we don't know what will happen when he's 65. But this quote from Almagro has kept gaining popularity every year Nadal has added another French Open trophy to his collection.

Now at 12 Roland Garros titles, Rafael Nadal is being tipped by most experts to continue his reign in Paris for the foreseeable future. And Almagro readily agrees.

The 34-year-old, who was forced to retire from tennis last year owing to persistent injuries, recently took to Twitter to reinforce his belief that Nadal will win the French Open again. But as with most things in 2020, the statement unfortunately came with an asterisk, considering the uncertainty around the tournament taking place.

Revisiting his famous quote from 2008, Almagro said:

"I still maintain what I said (in 2008), if the tournament is played this year, for me he (Nadal) wins again."

The Spaniard further labelled Rafael Nadal a 'number one', and predicted that the southpaw will be even more motivated than usual when tennis resumes.

"A Number One never gets tired of lifting titles, and (Rafa) will be much more hungry even after everything that has happened."

Will Rafael Nadal have a tough time defending his Roland Garros title in 2020?

If Nadal were to realize his compatriot's prediction, he will have won four straight French Open titles for the third time in his career. But despite Almagro's firm belief in his compatriot, the King of Clay might have his work cut out this year if the French Open does indeed take place.

The French Open has been rescheduled to 20 September, which means it will commence just one week after the US Open (which as per current schedule ends on 13 September). And Nadal is defending champions points at Flushing Meadows as well, having won his fourth US Open title last year.

Nadal faces the unprecedented task of defending two Slams in one month
Nadal faces the unprecedented task of defending two Slams in one month

That means if tennis were to return by August, Nadal faces the daunting task of defending 4000 points across two different Slams, all within the space of a month. With the Spaniard turning 34 in a few days, he seems to have a really tough job on his hands.

But as we've learnt on so many occasions over the years, it's never wise to count the Spanish Bull out.

It'll be exciting to see how the 19-time Grand Slam champion manages his schedule, and what decisions he makes to balance his workload. But for now, Almagro's statement just re-affirms the saying, "Few things in life are as constant as Rafael Nadal winning the French Open."

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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Edited by Musab Abid
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