‘Old but happy’ Nadal relishes 1,000th victory

‘Old but happy’ Nadal relishes 1,000th victory

PARIS • Rafael Nadal said he was proud of a “great achievement” after securing the 1,000th ATP Tour-level victory of his illustrious career on Wednesday.

The Spaniard became the fourth man to reach that mark with a comeback win over Feliciano Lopez in the second round of the Paris Masters.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, back in the French capital less than a month after winning his 13th Roland Garros title, edged out his compatriot 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

“I am proud about a lot of things, but I faced some challenges in my career in terms of body injuries,” said Nadal.

“But I always had the passion to keep going and the humility to keep going when things are going in a way you don’t expect. It’s a great achievement for me.”

The world No. 2, whose first match win on the Tour came in April 2002 when he was just 15, is fourth on the all-time list, with Jimmy Connors leading the way on 1,274 victories, 32 more than second-placed Roger Federer.

“One negative thing about getting to 1,000 – is that you’re very old as it means you have to have had a very long career,” added Nadal, who is 68 wins behind Ivan Lendl in third. “But I’m very happy.”

The 34-year-old was given a special presentation to celebrate his achievement after the match in an empty Bercy Arena.

The event was being played behind closed doors after France entered its second coronavirus lockdown.

Taking the trophy in Paris for the first time this weekend will see Nadal equal world No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s record of 36 Masters titles.

He is playing the Paris Masters for the eighth time and his best performance at Bercy remains his run to the 2007 final where he lost to David Nalbandian.

In yesterday’s last-16 match, Diego Schwartzman of Argentina moved within one win of qualifying for the Nov 15-22 season-ending ATP Tour Finals with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NO REGRETS

One negative thing about getting to 1,000 – is that you’re very old as it means you have to have had a very long career. But I’m very happy.

RAFAEL NADAL,
34, on his longevity in tennis.