Rafael Nadal recorded his 1,000 ATP Tour win by beating Feliciano Lopez on Wednesday in a tough three-set match at the Paris Masters, becoming just the fourth man to ever achieve the feat.
The 13-time French Open champion in the footsteps of Ivan Lendl (1,068 wins), his great opponent Roger Federer (1,242 wins) and Jimmy Connors (1,274 wins) after overcoming his fellow Spaniard 4-6 7-6(5) 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the event.
‘To achieve that number is because I have been playing well for a lot of years and is something that makes me feel happy,’ Nadal told reporters afterwards at a virtual press conference.
Rafael Nadal reached yet another landmark in a phenomenal career spanning 19 years so far
Feliciano Lopez was standing between Nadal and history and made the 34-year-old’s life tough
‘I just can say thank you very much to all the people that helped me and all the people that in any moment of my life helped me to be where I am.
‘I know it is a very special number, 1,000. Even if it’s not the same to celebrate something like this without a crowd, I enjoy it with ATP, with the president of the French (Tennis) Federation, Guy Forget, supervisor and the ball boys.
‘I enjoy it and just can say thanks to all of them to make this moment a little bit more special.’
Nadal may have had to wait until the ATP World Tour Finals in London later this month to reach the landmark as he struggled early on, with 39-year-old Lopez’s break in the third game proving crucial as he stole the first set.
A gruelling second set followed, with both men holding strong on their serve to force a tiebreak, which Nadal won by the barest of margins 7-5.
Nadal now has Andy Murray’s former coach Ivan Lendl (on 1,068 singles wins) in his sights
As has often happened in his career, Nadal smelt blood and ultimately ground down his opponent to claim the decider and secure a last-eight date with Jordan Thompson.
The Australian caused an upset straight after Nadal’s match by beating 15th seed Borna Coric 2-6 6-4 6-2.
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