Rafael Nadal has revealed that Roger Federer sent him a private message of congratulations following his record-extending French Open victory.
Nadal beat Casper Ruud in the final to win for the 14th time in Paris and secure his 22nd Grand Slam title.
He is now two ahead of Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time Grand Slam standings, and it was noticeable after the final that neither Federer nor Djokovic posted a congratulatory message to Nadal on social media.
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However, Federer's silence at least seems to have only been in the public forum.
“With Roger we have a good relationship and a special feeling,” Nadal told Sky Sports in Italy.
“After the victory he wrote me a message to congratulate me."
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While Nadal has opened up a gap over his long-time rivals, he has also cast doubt over how much longer he will play tennis due to a chronic foot injury.
Nadal said after the French Open he is planning to get treatment and hopes that he will be able to play Wimbledon.
However, any absence from the tour for Nadal would give Djokovic the chance to make up ground.
"Anything can happen," Nadal told the ATP.
"Clearly Novak is in the best position to be able to beat that because he has no physical problems, and he’s playing at a spectacular level.
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"Federer has been out for a long time and you can always expect something special from him, but we all know how difficult it is to come back, even more so at 40. We’ll see what happens. As I’ve always said, it didn’t bother me when we were level, and it doesn’t bother me now that I’m two ahead. I just want to keep competing."
With the Australian Open and French Open already in his pocket, Nadal is halfway to a Calendar Slam.
It is a feat that has not been achieved by a man since Rod Laver in 1969, but Nadal says he will be happy just to play at Wimbledon and the US Open.
"Yes, it’s crazy, even if I was in perfect shape I think," he said about his Calendar Slam chances.
"Nobody has done it since Rod Laver. Djokovic came closest last year. More than winning the Grand Slam, I would be content to play in all four."
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Eurosport expert Mats Wilander has said he finds Nadal more "fun" to watch than Djokovic or Federer.
“The older I get, the more I enjoy watching him play,” the seven-time Grand Slam champion told L’Equipe.
“We see that he trusts his variations more than when he was 22 or 23 years old. I find his tennis more fun than Roger's or Novak's.
“With Roger, everything seems easy. It's simple and aesthetic. Rafa is different: his true personality arises when the racquet hits the ball.
“Of course, the beginning and the end of the motion are not as fluid as with Roger. But the contact with the ball is so pure, his touch on the ball is so extraordinary that I am blown away."
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