Rafael Nadal has won an unprecedented 13 French Open titles after taking the victory against Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros on Sunday. In the process, he has also equalled Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam titles. The Swiss star skipped this year's tournament while he is recovering from a knee surgery, but he didn't waste any time to congratulate the man whom he considers to be his "greatest rival."
Following Nadal's historic feat, Federer took to Twitter from the comfort of his own home to share his thoughts about his friend's achievement.
"I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion," said Federer, in a statement posted alongside a photo of the two of them posing on-court together.
"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," continued Federer.
Federer and Nadal have faced each other in numerous finals over the years, and it blows the mind to imagine exactly how many more titles they would have if they had not played in the same era. Nevertheless, Federer believes that it is because of the existence of the other that they have both pushed hard to achieve so much.
Nadal meanwhile, refused to flaunt the significance of equalling Federer's record. In a post-match interview, he said "I'm not going to be thinking all the time, 'Novak has this one, Roger is winning the other one.' You can't be always unhappy because your neighbour has a bigger house than you or a bigger boat or a better phone."
The Spaniard, aptly dubbed the "King of Clay," defeated world number one Novak Djokovic to claim the title. As the closest challenger to Federer and Nadal, Djokovic had high hopes on Sunday. However, he was completely outclassed on Philippe Chatrier. He is now three titles adrift, with 17 Grand Slams to his name.