Over the years, Rafael Nadal has developed into an icon for Spanish sport. Widely considered one of the greatest athletes to have come out of the country, the 19-time Grand Slam champion has dominated men's tennis over the last decade and a half along with his two main rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Nadal has now received words of extraordinary praise from Angel Garcia Muniz. The renowned Spanish sports writer spoke about the humility and mental fortitude of Rafael Nadal, claiming he is unarguably the greatest athlete in the history of Spain.
Everyone feels authentic respect for Rafael Nadal: Angel Garcia Muniz
As per COPE, Garcia Muniz mentioned the 34-year-old's humility as being the key to his massive success over the years. He also talked about how Nadal's nature as a person is of greater significance than the accolades he has received over the years.
"Everyone feels authentic respect and reverence for Rafael Nadal for the values he transmits," Garcia Muniz said. "You are almost more fond of him when he loses than when he wins. For the respect he shows to his rivals, towards the public and towards us (media) in a press conference."
The writer also said that he relates more with Rafael Nadal the person than with Rafael Nadal the professional.
"I stay more with his way of being than with everything he has earned," he asserted.
Angel García Muniz has co-written a book dedicated to Rafael Nadal - De Rafael a Nadal: El camino hacia la leyenda (From Rafael to Nadal: The path to the legend) - which chronicles the journey of Spain's most beloved superstar.
When asked about who he considers the country's greatest ever athlete, Garcia Muniz had no doubts in his mind.
"I have asked the same question to all the athletes. And I still haven't found one who won't tell me the name of Rafa Nadal. If they say it, how can I not say his name?"
Toni Nadal is responsible for creating one of the most incredible minds in international sport: Garcia Muniz
Angel Garcia Muniz also spoke about the beginnings of the 34-year-old and how his early success was a result of the efforts of his Uncle Toni.
"At 14 years old he defeats a Wimbledon champion, at 15 his first ATP game and at 16 he beats Albert Costa, Roland Garros champion," said Garcia Muniz.
"Toni is the one who has furnished the most incredible minds in international sport," the Spaniard added.
Garcia Muniz then went on to speak about Nadal's mental toughness and grounded behavior, which he believes were developed by his uncle.
"Rafa played a game with a broken racket because he learned not to complain about anything. (Toni) made him pick up more balls than anyone else. If Rafa left the water bottle, he would not buy a new one 'so that he would never forget it again'," Garcia Muniz said.Published 27 Jul 2020, 20:09 IST