Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has backed Rafael Nadal to match Margaret Court's record of winning 24 singles Grand Slam titles. The 18-time Grand Slam champion labelled the Spaniard "superman" for his ability to come back from his numerous injury setbacks and compete at the highest level.

Nadal moved ahead of "Big Three" rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic when he claimed his 21st major title at the Australian Open in January. It came just months after the Spaniard was hit by a foot injury that threatened to end his career.

The former world number one was 22-0 in 2022 until his loss to Taylor Fritz in the final of the Indian Wells Masters. Nadal was struggling with a rib injury at the time, which eventually forced him to miss the Miami Masters and the start of the clay court swing of the season.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are on collision course in the French Open Thomas SAMSON/AFP

Nadal returned at the Madrid Masters where he lost in the quarter finals to eventual winner and compatriot Carlos Alcaraz. Despite his loss, he will be among the favourites when the French Open gets underway at Roland Garros on May 16.

Navratilova believes there is a possibility that the Spaniard could equal Court's record, which has evaded the likes of Serena Williams, who has 23 Grand Slam titles. She feels Nadal's ability to get back up from injury setbacks could help him compete for major titles going forward.

"It may be. He's still playing. We don't know how long it will last because tennis is very demanding, and he has injuries, but he always comes back," Navratilova told Heraldo. "With a broken rib, and he's back. He is Superman; he should go with a cloak. He seems indestructible."

Apart from his ability to come back from injury, Navratilova also hailed Nadal's influence on the younger generation of players coming through on the ATP Tour - namely Carlos Alcaraz. The former women's number one feels the Spaniard's unwillingness to give in to adversity is a standout example for players aspiring to reach the top.

"I think Nadal does something very big for young people," Navratilova said. "He doesn't think anything is lost, and that's important for the stars of the future to be fixed. He's a great example."

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal now has 21 Grand Slam titles after winning the 2022 Australian Open Martin KEEP/AFP