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Without Rafael Nadal, Federer would've stopped playing 5 years ago: Francisco Roig

  • Francisco Roig talked about Rafael Nadal's limitless ambition and motivation, and also the way he pushes his rivals.
  • Roig further said that Nadal compatriot brings in the same level of intensity regardless of the tournament level.
Modified 23 May 2020, 05:49 IST

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Francisco Roig, along with Carlos Moya, form a key part of Rafael Nadal's coaching team. And Roig, in a Vodcast on Eurosport, said that had the Spaniard not existed, a certain Roger Federer might have retired five years ago.

"Probably if Rafa didn't exist, maybe Roger might have already stopped playing tennis five years ago," Roig said. "But because of this, I think one makes the other one better."

The statement from Francisco Roig is not without merit. Rafael Nadal owns a 14-10 record in tournament finals against his Swiss rival, a tally that includes six Grand Slam final wins and seven in Masters 1000 title matches. Indeed, if it were not for Nadal at Roland Garros, Federer would likely have won the calendar year Grand Slam in both 2006 and 2007.

As things stand now, Rod Laver (1969) remains the only player in the Open Era to have achieved the coveted feat of a calendar year Grand Slam. That said, Roger Federer (2006, 2007, 2009) and Novak Djokovic (2015) have also reached all four Major finals in the same year.

Roig explains what continues to motivate Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Francisco Roig also said that tennis is blessed to have players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic playing in the same era.

"It's amazing I think - all these three guys Novak, Roger and Rafa. Maybe because they are together on this run, in this race, one motivates the others." 

Talking specifically about the motivation of his compatriot Rafael Nadal, Roig opined that Nadal has limitless ambition regardless of the tournament he competes in.

"Rafa's ambition is huge. I mean, I can see sometimes with Rafa, he's winning a tournament, a 250 tournament in the ATP, and he's so happy about that - a guy who has won 19 Grand Slams!"

Roig added that Rafael Nadal's sheer love for the sport is what drives him to keep competing at the highest level in every tournament.

"He brings the same level of motivation, regardless of the tournament. Rafa is so happy playing tennis. You can see how much he likes to win. Otherwise, at his age, after having so much success, he would have had no chance to win tournaments. You need this ambition."

The former professional player further said that Rafael Nadal is willing to change his game in order to remain competitive.

"People were saying that Rafa - at the beginning of his career, I remember - this guy was going to play for three, four years only. How many times have we heard that? So this is one of the arguments. I think that's why Rafa from the beginning, he wanted to change his game."

The left-hander is also a good listener, according to Roig. He is always open to advice and suggestions from his coaching team, so that he can continue improving his game and win matches on the court.

"To change the game for a guy who has been number one? You have to all agree with this 100% that he has succeeded already. How to change something that hasn't changed? But he wants to do it. And still today he's listening. So it's the only key I think to keep winning."

Carlos Moya added in this regard that Rafael Nadal brings in the same motivation to the competitive arena, whether it is on the tennis court or the PlayStation or the golf course.

"If he’s healthy, if he’s practicing well and his motivation is there, I think that he is going to compete in every single way. So as long as the motivation is there, I think he’s a competitor. He wants to win no matter what game he’s playing: golf, PlayStation. So as long as this motivation is there, I think he’s going to be able to keep competing and to keep winning."

Published 23 May 2020, 05:49 IST
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