Rafael Nadal’s 2020 French Open title is easily one of the biggest feats in his career, given the circumstances under which he triumphed. Faced with several adverse situations - including cold and damp weather, indoor conditions, and heavier balls - Rafael Nadal proved his mettle by taking the title without dropping a set.
The mental and physical abilities that the Spaniard showcased during the fortnight were lauded all across the world. And now his long-time personal physician, Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, has also given his thoughts on Nadal's mindset - especially during the final against Novak Djokovic.
Angel Ruiz-Cotorro spoke glowingly of Rafael Nadal's performance, adding that it had been a while since he had seen his client play at such a high level.
“I think he has played one of the best games in a final against a great Djokovic. It had been a long time since I saw him play so well," said Ruiz-Cotorro.
Faced with a tricky second-week draw that included Jannik Sinner, Diego Schwartzman and Novak Djokovic, not many expected Rafael Nadal to win in such an emphatic manner. The World No. 2 was far from his best before the final but he upped his game by several notches to inflict a total beatdown on the Serb.
Angel Ruiz-Cotorro has been the physician of Spain’s Olympic Tennis team right from the Atlanta Games in 1996. In the past, he has even treated the likes of Arantxa Sanchez and Juan Martin del Potro.
Dr. Ruiz-Cotorro knows a thing or two about tennis given his lengthy association with the sport. And in his opinion, Rafael Nadal is one of the best competitors in history.
"I have always thought that Rafa is one of the best competitors in the history of sport and the other day he showed it by winning the tournament," Ruiz-Cotorro said.
According to the renowned doctor, Rafael Nadal was superior to Novak Djokovic in every single aspect during the final. Ruiz-Cotorro believes that Nadal not only played better tennis than the Serb, but he also came into the match with a more stable frame of mind.
"And Nadal, apart from his tennis level, which was very high and far superior to his rival, mentally faced the most prepared match," Ruiz-Cotorro continued.
Ruiz-Cotorro went on to express his belief that Rafael Nadal is the most mentally strong player in the history of tennis.
“I think he is the mentally strongest of all the tennis players on the circuit and possibly in the history of tennis," Ruiz-Cotorro remarked.
Rafael Nadal can play for two or three years: Angel Ruiz-Cotorro
Although Rafael Nadal continues to perform at the highest level, he isn’t getting any younger. At 34 years of age, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that the Mallorcan doesn’t have many years left in him - especially given his poor record with injuries.
Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, however, doesn't fear an untimely retirement since Nadal is still fueled by his love and passion for tennis.
"In Rafa's case, as long as he has a passion for this sport and is able to compete as he did in this last Grand Slam against Djokovic, with that passion and preparation, he will continue playing tennis, because it is his life,” Nadal’s doctor asserted.
Having said that, the physician did put a likely cap on Nadal’s career by opining that the reigning French Open champion would play for three years at the most.
"How many years can he play? Well, two or three,” Ruiz-Cotorro added.Published 26 Oct 2020, 23:23 IST