ATP Tour

Leconte praises Nadal for 'mental toughness'

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French tennis legend Henri Leconte has heaped praise on Rafael Nadal for his mental toughness and ability to reinvent himself every year.

Nadal has won 19 Grand Slams, which leaves him just one shy of Roger Federer’s all-time mark, while the Spaniard has also won a record 12 French Open titles.

His achievements at Roland Garros are incredible as he has only lost twice in Paris since making his debut back in 2005.

Former French Open runner-up Leconte used a brilliant analogy to describe Nadal’s Roland Garros record.

“When you think about it, 12 Roland Garros in 15 years,” he said during an interview with Stats Perform.

“You don’t think it would be possible. If someone told you that, you’d say, ‘You’re crazy.’

“What’s astonishing to me is how he evolved physically, how he changed his game, how he improved.

“I like to compare him to an F1 racing team which is producing a new car every year, he is coming every year with a new way of playing and adapting.

“He works on his serve, on his right hand, his left hand, and he’s always changing some things.

“He’s been able to improve every year which allowed him to win Roland Garros, this is amazing. And mentally, he’s out of this world.

“To play at his level at Roland Garros, under these circumstances, physically and mentally, I couldn’t even play one set like that.

“During my time, [Sergi] Bruguera was a bit like him, and when I had to play him on clay, with my style, I knew it was over, I was about to run everywhere and get destroyed.

“Rafa is extraordinary. This is what’s impressive and people don’t realise how much he works.”

- TEAMtalk media

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