Andy Murray awed by Rafael Nadal's 'incredible' French Open record

Before continuing his grass court preparations, Andy Murray did the maths on Rafael Nadal's latest feat on clay.
Tennis legends Andy Murray (L) and Rafael Nadal (File Photo | AP)
Tennis legends Andy Murray (L) and Rafael Nadal (File Photo | AP)

STUTTGART: Before continuing his grass court preparations, Andy Murray on Monday did the maths on Rafael Nadal's latest feat on clay.

The 36-year-old Spaniard on Sunday routed Norway's Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the final at Roland Garros to extend two records. It was not only his 22nd Grand Slam title but also his 14th French Open.

"Winning 14 Grand Slams at the same place is incredible," said Murray in Stuttgart.

"There's hardly any players on the Tour who will get the opportunity to play Roland Garros 14 times, much less win it."

Nadal won his first French Open title in 2005. In the 17 seasons since then, he has lost just three matches at Roland Garros and been forced out once by a wrist injury.

Murray used the sport's latest prodigy, Nadal's compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, for comparison.

"Alcaraz is 19 now, so he would have to win it every single time (until age 33) to achieve that. I just don't see that happening."

Murray, who reached the Roland Garros final in 2016, was also impressed by Iga Swiatek, who extended her singles winning streak to 35 matches as she won the women's final.

"It was just an incredible achievement for Rafa - and Iga Swiatek," said Murray.

The Scot is making his debut at the ATP event in Stuttgart after moving onto the lawns last week at the Challenger level event in Surbiton, London, where he reached the semi-finals before losing to American Denis Kudla.

The former world number one, who is ranked 68th, will take to the lawns of the Weissenhof Club on Tuesday when he faces Australian qualifier Christopher O'Connell.

"I beat him in a very close match in Dubai, it's going to be difficult," Murray said.

The 35-year-old, who survived a mass shooting at his primary school in Dunblane, Scotland, when he was nine, again spoke about gun violence.

"(When) that happened, we changed the gun laws and there have been no more mass shootings in the UK.

"There have been more than 200 mass shootings in the US this year. They should probably do something to change that culture."

Murray said that while he would love to play doubles with Britain's US Open champion Emma Raducanu at Wimbledon, the odds were against it unless he suffered an early singles loss.

"British tennis fans would enjoy that but I don't know if it's going to happen.

"Only if the singles don't work out. It's tough enough for me to play the singles right now," said Murray, who has been beset by injury problems in recent years, especially to his hip.

Murray will be playing his 45th event on grass but only the second on the surface outside of Britain.

He said the Stuttgart lawns - originally curated by Wimbledon experts prior to the first edition in 2015 - play differently than last week in Surbiton.

"Those were old-school courts, lower bounce, very fast. But it was a good start, hopefully I can continue it here."

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The New Indian Express