COLOGNE (AFP, REUTERS) – Andy Murray predicts Rafael Nadal’s record of 13 French Open titles will never be beaten as the British former world No. 1 looks to bounce back in Cologne this week from his own Roland Garros disappointment.
Murray, 33, the reigning Olympic champion, crashed out of last month’s French Open in straight sets with a lop-sided first-round defeat by Stan Wawrinka as he works his way back from hip surgery.
On Sunday, the Scot watched in awe as Nadal, 34, demolished Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the final at Roland Garros to win his 13th French Open title.
The Spaniard has also equalled the all-time record of 20 Grand Slam titles held by Roger Federer, who hailed Nadal’s victory as “one of sport’s greatest achievements”.
Murray echoed the Swiss legend and doubts anyone will even get close to Nadal’s record in Paris.
“It’s an amazing achievement. I don’t think that what he has done at Roland Garros will ever be beaten. I just don’t see it being topped,” Murray said in Cologne.
“He is one short of winning the same amount of Grand Slams as (Pete) Sampras did just at one tournament. It’s incredible.
“I don’t think it’ll be repeated and I don’t think anyone will be close.”
Murray reached the second round of the US Open in his first Slam since hip-resurfacing surgery and Roland Garros was his third tournament this year after rehabilitation.
Having needed wildcards to play in Paris and Cologne, Murray hopes the back-to-back ATP indoor tournaments on the Rhine can help improve his current ranking of 97th.
“It will be good to get a few matches in over these next few weeks – I hope to perform better than I did in Paris,” said the Scot. “I want to win tournaments and move up the rankings.
“Physically, my body tends to feel better the more I play.
“Hopefully, I will play a lot over the next two weeks, perform well and see how it goes after that.”
Meanwhile, the Scot and three others have been elected to the ATP’s Player Council to replace the Djokovic-led group that resigned from the body to form a breakaway union, the governing body of men’s tennis announced on Monday.
Murray, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, Australian John Millman and Frenchman Jeremy Chardy will replace Djokovic, John Isner, Vasek Pospisil and Sam Querrey – who stepped down to form the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).
Murray joins Federer and Nadal on the council.
The ATP was set up by players in 1972 to represent the men’s athletes but its board now includes representatives of tournament owners as well.
Besides the ATP and the women’s WTA, the sport is also controlled by the International Tennis Federation and the boards of the four Grand Slams.
World No.1 Djokovic described the PTPA, which he said has already attracted the support of more than 200 players, as a platform for the views of the athletes that can co-exist with the ATP.
In response to the formation of the PTPA, the governing bodies had issued a joint statement calling for unity at a time when tennis has been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.