Rafael Nadal has been receiving plaudits from all around the world for his recent exploits at the French Open. With his 13th title win at Roland Garros in the last 16 years, Nadal has shown that he is and will always be the King of Clay - irrespective of the conditions or the opponent.
Such has been Nadal's dominance that former French Open finalist Alex Corretja has been moved to claim he is the greatest Spanish sportsperson of all time.
Writing in his column for Sports.es, Corretja showered lavish praise on the Mallorcan and his incredible achievements. The 46-year-old explained how Rafael Nadal, through his patience and courage, has come to embody the hopes and dreams of all his countrymen.
It is very difficult to summarize what Rafael Nadal means for all of us: Alex Corretja
Over the years, Rafael Nadal has become a sort of national icon and ambassador for Spain. His on-court exploits bring immense joy to Spaniards all around the world, and to add to that he also serves his country off the court through his foundation.
Spaniards hold Rafael Nadal in very high regard, and Corretja is no different. The former World No. 2 wrote in his column that a Nadal win is like a win for every single Spaniard.
"When Rafa wins, we all win,” Corretja wrote. “It is very difficult for me to summarize in a single page what Rafa Nadal means for all of us.”
Alex Corretja continued his eulogy of Rafael Nadal by calling him the greatest Spanish sportsperson of all time.
“This last week, everyone has returned to talk about Nadal. And in these times, I do not find anything better than to value and appreciate the records that day by day, he can break...for me, (he) is the best Spanish athlete of all time (with absolute respect for everyone else),” Corretja wrote.
At the same time, Corretja reminded everyone that Rafael Nadal is still human despite his machine-like displays on the tennis court. The 46-year-old wrote that Nadal is a sensitive individual, no matter what his tough, fierce exterior suggests.
“I want to remember that Rafa is human, even though he acts like a machine,” Corretja wrote. “That he is sensitive, even if he looks like iron, and that his game can be as overwhelming as lava from a volcano.”
Winning 20 Grand Slam titles requires a lot more than just talent. It requires hard work and patience of the highest magnitude, and Alex Corretja believes Rafael Nadal is the perfect example of that.
With the Spaniard having equaled Roger Federer's record tally of 20 Slams, Corretja highlighted the qualities that helped Nadal get to that mark.
“Taking into account that he has been playing tennis for more or less 28 years, he will have had to invest around 245,000 hours of his life to get to where he has come. So be patient, if you want to fulfill a dream," Corretja continued. "The good thing (for Rafa) is, it is done. Congratulations, Rafa!”Published 17 Oct 2020, 21:11 IST