Rafael Nadal grateful for amazing career in interview with Roger Federer – ‘More than I ever dreamed’ – Eurosport

Rafael Nadal expressed his gratitude for an amazing career in what could be his swansong year on the ATP Tour.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion joined his long-time rival Roger Federer in an advert for Louis Vuitton to discuss the best moments of their respective careers, and expressed his desire to be remembered as human being first, rather than a tennis player.

He said: “At the end, what will make me feel really proud and happy is, when I leave this world, if the tournament directors, the people who work on the tournaments, staff, ATP, say good things about who I was on the tour or who I am as a person more than as a tennis player.

“Because as a tennis player, at the end, we have the titles we have the achievements and that’s how it is. I achieved more than I ever dreamed about.

“So, for me at the end, the legacy as a human being, after achieving all the things that we achieved, I think for me, is the most important thing.”

Federer recounted his surprise defeat as then world No.1 to a 17-year-old Nadal in March 2004, and took plenty of enjoyment in seeing the sport’s next generation of stars progressing to the top.

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“The really special moment was when I was world No.1 in 2004, we played in Miami and he actually beat me, which was maybe a surprise to some.

“I had sunstroke, but he still beat me fair and square,” he joked.

“That was cool to see the young players come up, with [Andy] Murray, [Novak] Djokovic also coming through at that time.

“That first match will always be very meaningful, even though I lost it. And it’s been a great rivalry, like so many great players.

“But Rafa, with his playing style and attitude on court at such a young age, was not like everybody else.

“You could feel there was something special coming for sure.”

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Nadal also revealed some of his sporting heroes which have inspired him, and highlighted the impact which Ronaldo Nazario, Pete Sampras and Carlos Moya have all had on his career.

“First of all, sport by itself is an inspiration for me,” he explained.

“I love football, so for me, when I was a kid, Ronaldo Nazario was a huge inspiration. And then I had the chance to spend some time with him.

“As a tennis player for me, Sampras was a good inspiration.

“But Carlos Moya – who is my coach today – he was right next to me and in some ways, he helped me a lot when I arrived on the tour.”

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