Rafael Nadal is the best men's player to play the game, that is according to tennis legend Ion Tiriac.
Nadal sits on 22 Grand Slam titles, two clear of fellow greats of the game, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who are tied on 20.
And the 83-year-old former French Open quarter-finalist and now businessman and coach said that Nadal’s win at Roland-Garros – the 14th time he has won the French Open – further burnished his legend, putting him ahead of Federer and Djokovic in the race to be acclaimed the GOAT.
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"Rafael Nadal is the best of all. Neither Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are on his level," said Tiriac, as reported by Eurosport Spain.
"In the match against Djokovic, Nadal played very, very well. Beating Djokovic, world No. 1, in that way... No, Nadal is going to be No. 1 in the world forever. You can't compare him. Neither with Federer, for me.”
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Tiriac added that Nadal’s haul of 14 titles at one Grand Slam will unlikely ever be surpassed, and he backed the 36-year-old to claim – or attempt to – a 15th next year.
“You will never see, not even in your life nor in the life of your children, someone winning a Grand Slam tournament 14 times. Or 15. Because I'm sure he's going to try next year."
Nadal convincingly beat Casper Ruud 6-3 6-3 6-0 in the French Open final to claim his latest Grand Slam on clay earlier in June, and another all-time great Federer expressed his happiness to see his rival make history in the aftermath of that performance.
“I didn't watch the final, I watched the quarter-final [against Djokovic] a bit before I went to sleep," Federer said.
"In general, it's just unbelievable what Rafa has achieved. The record of Pete Sampras, which I beat, was 14 Grand Slam titles.
"Now Rafa won the French Open 14 times. That's unbelievable. I was happy for him that he did it again.
“Hats off to Rafa. After the 10th, 11th time, I already thought: 'This can't be.' He keeps raising the bar. It's gigantic.”
Federer is on the comeback trail from injury and has planned to play the Laver Cup in September and Basel in October.
Top match points: Nadal halts Djokovic, tearful Tsonga
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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