Rafael Nadal is the undisputed GOAT on clay, says German tennis player Maximilian Marterer, recalls how the Spaniard is at “100% through every game”

Rafael Nadal is the undisputed GOAT on clay, says German tennis player Maximilian Marterer, recalls how the Spaniard is at “100% through every game”

Facing Rafael Nadal on clay and especially at Roland-Garros is considered one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, challenges in the world of tennis. Staggeringly enough, this has been the case for over 17 years now, during which time the great Spaniard has won the Paris Grand Slam a record 14 times.

Maximilian Marterer is one of the players to have risen to this monumental challenge and the German tennis star recently pointed out how difficult it is to face Rafael Nadal. Marterer then declared the Spanish legend as the ‘goat of clay’.

Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, Marterer was quick to call his 2018 French Open fourth round clash against Nadal the “greatest match of his career”. Playing against the now 22-time Grand Slam champion also gave the German a good insight into what separates the best players from the rest.

Marterer explained what further sets the Spaniard apart from most other players in the world. It was Nadal’s relentless intensity throughout the duration of the matches, even in the best of five sets.

“It was indeed the biggest match of my career,” Marterer said in conversation at the ongoing Tata Open Maharashtra 2023 in Pune. “I remember, I was so nervous that day.” “I saw what makes the difference, like he’s not giving you anything. Even if the game lasts a little longer, even if it gets a little closer, he’s one hundred percent pretty much every match.” for five straight sets. It’s a challenge that few have succeeded, especially at Roland-Garros.”

The former world No. 45 further highlighted the significance of the occasion in his career.

“It was indeed a very beautiful day of my life,” added Marterer.

While most of the victims of the Spaniard’s 112 French Open victories suffered heavy losses, Maximilian Marterer did not go down without a fight. Despite losing in straight sets, the then 23-year-old pushed Nadal to a third-set tiebreaker, which he rightly treated as a confidence booster.

“I did well, I got the tie-break in the third set of this match,” said the German.

Speaking about Nadal’s legacy as a clay-court player, Maximilian Marterer quite emphatically called the Spaniard the ‘GOAT’ on red clay.

“On clay, of course,” Marterer said when asked if the 14-time French Open champion was the greatest of all time.

Maximilian Marterer is aiming to achieve a feat Rafael Nadal failed to achieve at Tata Open Maharashtra 2023 Maximilian Marterer faced Rafael Nadal in his first Grand Slam 4th round appearance, at the 2018 French Open.

Maximilian Marterer has the opportunity to start his 2023 season in the most ideal way by emulating or even surpassing one of Rafael Nadal’s many feats. The German hopes to go all the way and clinch the title at the ongoing Tata Open Maharashtra. The Spaniard reached the final of the ATP 250 event in 2008 when the event was held in Chennai but was unable to claim the trophy.

Materer’s campaign got off to a perfect start as he qualified for the main draw from Monday.

As he aims to get back into the world Top 50 and go even further, the world No. 159 wants to make the most of every opportunity that presents itself. Marterer hopes some of those opportunities will come at Grand Slam tournaments.

“At No. 160 you don’t have too many opportunities to play in the ATP,” explained Marterer. “So you have to do really well at the Challengers (ATP) and maybe even the Grand Slams.” you with the games you win and get the confidence you need. I think in the second half of last year I managed to do better than before.”

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