Andy Murray hailed Rafael Nadal’s 13 French Open titles as arguably the best achievement in sport.
The Spaniard produced one of his best performances at Roland Garros in the final on Sunday in beating Novak Djokovic for the loss of just seven games to extend his win-loss record on the Parisian clay to 100-2.
Murray said: “I didn’t see loads of the match, I was practising while it was going on. I saw a little bit at the end. Amazing achievement.
“Obviously he could win another one and make it 14 or 15, whatever he finishes on, but he is one short of winning the same amount of grand slams as (Pete) Sampras did at just one tournament.
“It’s incredible. I think it’s one of the best records in sport, maybe the best. I don’t think it will ever be repeated and I actually don’t think anyone will get close to it.”
Nadal’s victory gave him a 20th grand slam title overall, drawing him level at the top of the all-time men’s standings with Roger Federer and three ahead of Djokovic.
The race to finish on top has been heating up for many years, and Murray said: “Providing they all stay fit, and if they retire all at the same age, then I would think it would be between Rafa and Novak.”
Murray played at Roland Garros for the first time in three years but it was not a happy experience, with the Scot suffering the joint worst loss of his career at a slam against Stan Wawrinka in the first round.
He returns to action this week at the bett1HULKS Indoors ATP event in Cologne, where he will take on old rival Fernando Verdasco in the first round.
Murray remains optimistic of showing better form to finish the season and into 2021, saying: “The clay season was obviously pretty short for me this year.
“It will be good to hopefully get a few tournaments over the next few weeks and get some matches in. I think they’ve done a really good job here with the venue and everything. It’s really nice. I’m hoping I can perform better than I did in Paris.
“I want to try and win tournaments. Indoor hard courts has been a good surface for me. It’s obviously quite a tough draw here but that’s what I want to do. I want to try and win. That’s the goal.
“I am hoping that over these next few months with more matches, more tournaments and a training period going in to the new year, that next year will be a good one.”
An interesting development on Monday, meanwhile, saw Murray re-elected to the ATP Player Council, where he will represent players alongside Nadal and Federer among others.
Djokovic recently resigned from the council to set up a separate player body, the Professional Tennis Players Association, and these are fractious times in tennis politics.
The ATP also announced on Monday that one player had been withdrawn from the tournament in St Petersburg after testing positive for Covid-19.