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Would have loved to play Rafael Nadal, but tennis today is boring: Marcelo Rios

  • Marcelo Rios revealed that Rafael Nadal is the player he would have liked to face if he was still playing today.
  • Rios also spoke of an interaction with Toni Nadal, who believed that Rios could have beaten the Spaniard at his best.
Namit Kumar
Modified 16 Jun 2020, 18:09 IST
Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal's journey from a fiery teenager who took the tennis world by storm to one of the most loved athletes in all of sport, has been followed with great interest by fans and former players alike. Many legends of the game have debated whether or not he is the greatest player ever, while also wondering whether they could have beaten him at their peak.

The latest to give his thoughts on the matter is former World No. 1 Marcelo Rios.

Speaking on a Spanish Podcast directed by Alex Corretja and Javier Frana, Rios showered lavish praise on Rafael Nadal's abilities, and also expressed his desire to play against the Spaniard. The Chilean later spoke about his interactions with Nadal's uncle Toni, before commenting on the current state of men's tennis - which he thinks is 'boring'.

You would have beaten Rafael Nadal: Uncle Toni to Marcelo Rios

Rafael Nadal with his uncle Toni during the Nitto ATP Finals 2019
Rafael Nadal with his uncle Toni during the Nitto ATP Finals 2019

Rios recounted how Uncle Toni had once said he believed the Chilean could have beaten Rafael Nadal at his best. But the former Australian Open runner-up played down the claim by saying:

"His (Rafael Nadal's) uncle Toni said I could beat him but I never said something like that."

Expanding more on Rafael Nadal's unique skills, Rios went on to talk about how he would have loved to compete with the Spaniard if he was still playing professional tennis.

"What I had said to Toni is that I believe that when I was at my greatest, I would have complicated things for him, and Toni agrees with me. Rafael Nadal is the player I wish to face today."

Toni Nadal has actually gone on the record about Marcelo Rios on multiple occasions. Earlier this year, while speaking about players from Chile in an interview with La Tercera, Rafael Nadal's former coach said: "Rios did not have personality. Let's not lie, on the court, a great player. Off it, a difficult character."

"If we speak of tennis, you have to say he was a great player. He had a great ability and a developed conception of tennis, a high one. And at the end of his career, I saw people with much less tennis than him started winning titles and raising on the rankings and also beating him, which may have left him disappointed," Toni Nadal further went on to say.

Tennis right now is boring: Marcelo Rios

Marcelo Rios chats with Andy Murray during training at Davis Cup 2019
Marcelo Rios chats with Andy Murray during training at Davis Cup 2019

Speaking candidly during the podcast, Marcelo Rios spoke about how he felt tennis is less exciting in the modern era than it used to be. The Chilean said:

"Nowadays I do not entertain myself watching tennis, it is very boring. Many say that it is very boring to see (players like) Andy Murray and Roger Federer. It is not a great thing, but they do play very well."

The Chilean also revealed that he is happy with what he achieved in the game despite the fact that tennis weighed him down towards the later stages.

"I am one of those who think that it is more important to be No. 1 in the world than to win a Grand Slam, because of the situations that I experienced first-hand. In fact, I would have preferred to have done it at the age of 25 or 26, I would have enjoyed it more and not at 21, the age when I reached the top."

The Chilean retired prematurely at the early age of 28, due to a back injury. He never managed to win a Slam, but the story of him knocking off Pete Sampras from the top of the rankings in 1998 continues to captivate tennis fans even now.

Published 16 Jun 2020, 18:09 IST
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