Rafael Nadal on Roland Garros statue: ‘It is spectacular, I am very pleased’

Rafael Nadal has described the statue of him unveiled at Roland Garros this week as ‘spectacular.’

The FFT have decided to honour Nadal as their greatest ever champion, and commissioned a statue of the Spaniard for the grounds at Roland Garros, where he has won 100 of 102 completed matches so far.

“The statue is spectacular,” Rafael Nadal told the official ATP Tour website. “I think it is very real.

“If you haven’t seen it live, if you get close you’ll notice. It’s a clean, modern statue and I’m very pleased.

“It’s really difficult to build a statue with that material and be so real as this one is.

“It means a lot. Having a statue within such a special place for our sport, in a place that is very special for me is something unique.

“Not being French, I can only say thanks to the FFT, to the former President who promoted it and the current President who continued with the project.”

Nadal will start his campaign for a 14th French Open crown on Tuesday when he comes up against Alexei Popyrin, and he is not expecting an easy opener.

“He’s young, he has the power,” Nadal said. “He has big shots. As always, I need to be ready for it.

“I need to keep practising [over] the next couple of days [and] try to be in the best shape possible.

“I know every round is tough, I always respect every opponent. I respected everyone since the beginning of my career.

“Popyrin is a dangerous one, so I need to play well and I’m looking forward to trying to make that happen.”

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