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'Rafael Nadal professionalism is off the charts,' says Martina Navratilova

Rafael Nadal celebrates Barcelona Open title 2021

Rafael Nadal won the Laureus Award for Sportsman of the Year for the second time in his career this week and was 'saluted' by former Grand Slam Champion Martina Navratilova. 

The prestigious award is voted for by the world’s sports media, and aims to not only celebrate the highest sporting achievements but also honour those whose actions have transcended the court, track or field of play.

Nadal won an incredible 13th Roland Garros title in 2020, and in doing so, he equaled Roger Federer's record for 20 Grand Slam Championships.

What makes it even more extraordinary is that it is the fourth time the Spaniard has won the tournament without dropping a single set. A feat he also achieved in 2008, 2010 and 2017.

When Nadal was announced as the winner, Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam singles winner herself, expressed her congratulations and said people will be writing books about him for many years to come.

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“What can I say to you that hasn’t been told to you by countless others?” Navratilova said at the Laureus Awards as Nadal was presented.

“But, for me, watching you play, watching you compete for every point as if it is a match point, your total and utter commitment to the sport, your professionalism is off the charts.

“People will be writing books about you to teach others to do what you have done so well, now for almost 20 years,” Navratilova continued.

“So, I salute you, I respect you, I love watching you play, and I hope you never quit so you can win, maybe 30 Roland Garros titles. Anyway, congratulations.”

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