OPINION: Rafael Nadal has earned the place of global icon

It takes more than a series of impressive achievements to be labeled as an icon in the competitive world of international sport. It is not a state that comes lightly.

The best of them become household names and, among these stars, an elite band of legends have been immortalized for their character, their consistency, their longevity and their incredible ability to keep fighting when it seems they’re out of order. .

Muhammad Ali, Pelé, Tiger Woods, Donald Bradman, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Ben Ainslie, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps. All stars that will shine forever in the center of their galaxies within the sports universe.

Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Image: Eurasia Sport Images / Getty Images

It takes a lot to be listed among the best of the best, and it’s only when we run out of superlatives to explain their accomplishments that people join the likes of these global icons.

And when he lifted his racket on Sunday, Rafael Nadal stepped out of the tennis world and found a galaxy of his own.

Nadal was absolutely phenomenal.

His list of achievements speaks for itself, including 22 Grand Slam singles titles and a whopping 14 French Open wins.

READ ALSO: Rafael Nadal wins the 14th French Open extending the Grand Slam record

After spending 209 weeks of his career at the top of the world rankings, there are no words to really express how well he has done on the pitch.

But Nadal was more than a great player. He was a game changer too, with his remarkable physique playing a key role in bringing a new dynamic to the sport, raising the bar in terms of fitness and expanding the attention of top-tier tennis players far beyond their own. technique.

Additionally, he was able to outrun two other phenomenal players – Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (at least for now) – in what was one of the most memorable three-way rivalries in international sport history.

It doesn’t matter what it does now – and it isn’t at all seems to be done – The Spanish player has earned a place among the all-time greats.

Nadal is undoubtedly an icon and, as is always the case with people of his stature, his place among the best is much deserved.