'He's ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic now' - Rafael Nadal has 'great chance' in GOAT debate after French Open
Chris Evert, Mats Wilander, Alex Corretja and Tim Henman have given Eurosport their reactions to Rafael Nadal securing his 14th crown at Roland-Garros as he further extended both his record tally at the French Open and also his remarkable number of Grand Slam singles titles. With him having a staggering 22 to his name, is he now most likely to end up as the men's tennis GOAT?
'The legend continues to grow!' - Watch Nadal win 14th French Open title
Eurosport's experts have been attempting to get to grips with the ongoing men's GOAT debate in light of Rafael Nadal having clinched a record-extending 14th French Open title.
The King of Clay sealed his latest historic triumph at Roland-Garros after putting on an absolute masterclass to down Casper Ruud in comprehensive fashion with a 6-3 6-3 6-0 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Nadal now has a staggering 22 Grand Slam singles titles to his name, which puts him two clear of the tallies of his great tennis rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the all-time race. It is also the first time Nadal has won the Australian Open and the French Open in the same year.
Nadal suggested in his victory speech afterwards that he will not leave the sport just yet and plans to instead “keep fighting”, and it was a sentiment that delighted the Eurosport experts, many of whom were courtside in Paris attempting to evaluate where this puts him in the men's GOAT debate.
"I thought two years ago that it would be Novak [who would win most Grand Slam titles], he was No. 1 in the world, Rafa was starting to only win the French Open and we weren’t sure if he could win on the hard courts as well," Chris Evert told Eurosport.
"But now he’s two ahead, his body seems to be holding up pretty well. I think this title is the most meaningful ever, going through adversity. Four or five weeks ago, did we even think he was going to play the French Open? But he comes back, he goes through a lot of tense matches.
"Today he came out, full of freedom, very relaxed – I think he knew Casper didn’t have that one shot that could hurt him. Rafa played within himself, played solid and that was good enough for him to win the match against Casper."
Tim Henman added: "If Nadal is healthy, which is a big challenge now with this foot injury, can he win Wimbledon? Absolutely.
'We are witnessing sports history' - Wilander reacts to Nadal winning 14th French Open title
"That is incredibly exciting. In terms of who is going to end up with the most amount of Grand Slams, a couple of years ago I would have said Djokovic, for sure. But right now, with that little bit of distance, I think Nadal has got a great chance.
"It’s going to be fascinating to see. You have got another opportunity in three weeks time so fingers crossed, I so hope Rafa can be there on grass.
"When you have won as much as he has, you just never know what’s around the corner. I think he has been very frank, and very honest, to say that he doesn’t know if he is going to be back here.
"But when you see a performance like that, it was just another clay-court masterclass. You would have thought that when he wins these big titles – don’t forget he’s won the Australian Open, the French Open, now you can talk about the Grand Slam being on.
"Surely it is going to motivate him to keep on going. That’s what we are keeping our fingers crossed for because it’s a privilege to see one of the greatest champions in our sport playing like that."
Mats Wilander added: "I would think it must be the sweetest title [that Rafa has won at Roland-Garros]. First of all, he didn’t even know if he was going to be able to play.
"Let’s now not just focus on 14 [French Open titles], but 22 [Grand Slam singles titles]. He is ahead of Roger and Novak now. Maybe this could be the main reason why he will be the greatest player of all time.
"But again, he’s so humble and so in the present moment that it sounds like he is going to keep going."
Alex Corretja weighed in: "I don’t understand anything. How Rafa wins, how he could barely walk a couple of weeks ago. The first week he was OK, and then all of a sudden he raised his level against Novak and then again against Zverev.
"Today, to me, it seemed like he was not even at 100 per cent, and that is with respect to Casper, who did what he could. I don’t understand how he did it. One day he needs to tell us how this is possible because I don’t get it."
'I never believed I'd be here at 36' - Nadal overwhelmed by 14th French Open title
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