Rafa Nadal French Open 2022

‘Rafael Nadal makes you suffer more than the rest,’ says former world number five

Tommy Robredo believes Rafael Nadal has the edge over Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer as the greatest player of all time.

This season has seen Nadal pull clear of Djokovic and Federer in the Grand Slam race, with him winning the French Open and Australian Open to take his tally to 22.

Djokovic won Wimbledon by reducing the gap back down to just one major, but Robredo believes Rafael Nadal still has the edge – as he can make you ‘suffer’ on a tennis court like no one else.

When asked who was the toughest player he ever played against, Robredo answered: “Rafa, for the way he plays, with this speed of the ball, the spin of his forehand, for the difference due to him being left-handed and for the way that he runs after every ball as if it was the first.

“I don’t say the others are easy but, for me, Rafa had something that makes you suffer more inside the court than the rest.

“Everyone that saw Rafa during the first year could understand that he would go on to become a great player. But he went much higher and became one of the best sporting athletes in the world, if not the best. Thats something that’s not easy to realize but that he achieved it in a great way.”

The tennis GOAT race is a contentious topic in tennis, with each of the Big Three’s legions of fans steadfastly backing their player to be considered the greatest of all.

Robredo, though, believes the last couple of years has seen it become a two-horse race with one of the big three dropping out of the running.

“Right now, I would say it’s close between Rafa and Novak,” he said.

“It depends if we say Grand Slams is the most important or also consider how important Davis Cup, weeks at number one, and other factors are. It’s very difficult to say at the moment.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.