Rafael Nadal does not talk about the potential to match Roger Federer’s Grand Slam record. By winning the US Open last September, Nadal moved to 19 major titles, just one behind his great rival.

But his hopes of winning a 20th were ended at the Australian Open when he lost to Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals.

At the end of May, Nadal will have undoubtedly his best chance of going level with Federer when he plays at the French Open.

In Paris, the Spaniard will be aiming for a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title but the likes of Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem will pose a serious threat.

After his success in Melbourne, Djokovic is now on 17 Grand Slams and edging ever closer to his rivals.

Speaking in the aftermath of Djokovic’s win over Thiem in the final, Nadal admitted he would have preferred the Austrian to win.

“Obviously, yes (I would have preferred Thiem’s victory),” he said.

“You don’t have to be a hypocrite, right? It would have been better for me personally if Thiem won. But, to be honest, I slept exactly as well the last two days.

“In that regard, it doesn’t matter if Dominic had won or if Novak won. It is part of our sport.

“This tournament is particularly good at Novak. And right now he is, today, the best player in the world.

“This is what the numbers say. And the only thing that can be done is to congratulate him on another great success.”

In an interview with Spanish publication Las Provincias, Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya was asked to give his assessment on the battle to finish with the most Grand Slams.

And the former world No 1 says Nadal is calm about the situation.

“It is clear that in the face of competition between them, the less the rivals win, the better but Rafa is calm about that,” he said.

“Although he did not win in Australia he made the best competition he could.

“It’s something that is on the horizon, but we don’t talk about it.”

source: express.co.uk

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