Nick Kyrgios has hailed Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard recently matched Roger Federer’s total of 20 Grand Slam titles. However, the Australian insisted that Federer was still the best of all time despite being drawn level. Kyrgios has played against both players on multiple times throughout his career.
Nadal was sensational as he cruised to a 13th French Open title earlier in the month, beating Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to pick up the trophy.
That victory means the Spaniard is now level with Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles at five years the Swiss star’s junior.
Kyrgios has had his issues with Nadal over the years but has now hailed the 45-year-old for his remarkable achievement, in respectful comments made to Courtside Huddle.
“Unbelievable. I wasn’t surprised when I saw Rafa pretty much easing through the draw at the French Open,” he said.
“That’s his backyard. He loves playing there. I think he’s lost two matches there in his entire career.
“Honestly, I don’t think we’re ever going to see anything like that again.
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“Someone so dominant on one surface and he’s right there with the greatest of all time. You can argue he is the greatest.
“We had our differences when we played each other. We’re fiery, we’re competitors and are going to go after each other.
“But at the same time I am not going to take anything away from him . He’s an absolute champion and 20 Grand Slams is ridiculous and I don’t think we are ever going to see that again.”
Kyrgios does, however, think Federer remains the greatest player to ever grace the court.
“In my opinion, I’ve played all three of them, I think Andy Murray is right up there as well,” said the Australian.
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“You look at Federer, he’s the most dominant player of all time, but in this era it’s actually Rafa. It’s a debate you can have.
“A lot of players will tell you Rafa’s the GOAT, Novak’s the GOAT.
“But in my opinion, Federer is still [the GOAT]. I think he’s almost like a [Michael] Jordan status type thing.
“He was the guy that was so dominant on every kind of surface.
“I think the way he plays the game is something special.”
Federer could have been forgiven for feeling irked by Nadal’s latest achievement but, speaking after the Spaniard won the French Open, had nothing but kind words.
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“I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion,” the Swiss great tweeted.
He then added: “I hope 20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us.
“As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players.
“Therefore, it is a true honour for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory. It is especially amazing that he has now won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times, which is one of the greatest achievements in sport.
“I also congratulate his team because nobody can do this alone,” Federer, 39, added. “Well done Rafa. You deserve it.”
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