Rafael Nadal's record-extending 13th title at Roland Garros has been the talk of the tennis world all week. The Spaniard defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 to pick up his 20th Grand Slam title, equaling Roger Federer's long-standing record.
But World No. 122 Daniel Altmaier achieved something extraordinary in Paris too, from his perspective. The German qualifier reached the fourth round of the tournament, winning six matches along the way.
Altmaier has now revealed that he has been greatly inspired by Rafael Nadal and his career accomplishments. The German recently spoke about his own achievement in France, and the effect of Rafael Nadal's exploits on younger players like him on the ATP Tour and the Challenger tour.
My coach says if he has a bad day he wins against you, but if he's having a good day he'll kill you: Altmaier on Rafael Nadal
Speaking with BILD, Altmaier lauded Rafael Nadal's record at the French Open and also admitted that the Spaniard is a constant source of inspiration for him and his team.
"I want to learn from people like Nadal who stumbled and then came back," said Altmaier. "His record will last forever. In the team, we often take Nadal as a role model."
"My trainer Francisco Yunis is from Argentina. 90 percent of Argentines play to finance their lives and started tennis for the money. They have an attitude of working hard. Nadal is very similar to them. He manages to get the best out of it every day," Altmaier added.
Over the years, Nadal's never-say-die attitude has become something of tennis folklore. According to Altmaier, the younger players coming up on tour - who have seen Nadal at his best and also at his worst - look at the 34-year-old's attitude with awe and respect.
"You never get to see him weak as a spectator. My coach says: If he has a bad day, he wins against you. If he's having a good day, he'll kill you," the German added.
The cold weather conditions and new balls in Paris were far from ideal for Rafael Nadal, but the Spaniard was able to adapt and emerge victorious. Altmaier believes that Nadal's ability to win despite the frequent changes around him is what makes him truly special.
"I have to improve everything. It will be a never-ending story until I end my career. It has to get better every day and that's a great art. You should never retire; strengths and weaknesses can change week after week. Even Rafael Nadal is sure to say he didn't play perfectly in Paris," said Altmaier.Published 18 Oct 2020, 20:07 IST