Rafael Nadal becomes 4th player to win 1,000 matches: You have to be very old to win so many, he jokes

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Spaniard Rafael Nadal on Wednesday joined another elite list of players, by becoming only the fourth player to earn 1,000 Open Era singles victories. He achieved this feat by beating Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in the first round of the Rolex Paris Masters.

Nadal joins Jimmy Connors (1,274), Roger Federer (1,242) and Ivan Lendl (1,068) in the elusive 1,000 wins club.

Interestingly, Nadal’s first win was a maiden tour-level victory at home against Ramon Delgado in Mallorca in 2002.

"One very negative thing about getting to 1,000 is that you know you are very old. To win 1,000 matches you need to have a very long career." @RafaelNadal #RolexParisMasters pic.twitter.com/XmxrzvzqYs

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 4, 2020

Speaking after the 1,000th win in a post-match conversation, Nadal said, “One very negative thing about getting to 1,000 is that you know you are very old. To win 1,000 matches you need to have a very long career.

[But] that means that I played well for such a very long time, because to achieve that number is because I have been playing well for a lot of years and [that] is something that makes me feel happy.

“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,” the Spaniard said.

Nadal ended a two-match losing streak to his countryman Lopez and improved to 10-4 in his ATP Head-to-Head series. Lopez claimed victories in his past two matches against Nadal at the 2014 Rolex Shanghai Masters and the 2015 Western & Southern Open.

A very satisfying victory, says Nadal

In his first match since he captured a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title last month, Nadal served 16 aces and saved three of four break points to make further history in the French capital. The Spaniard, who is chasing his first title at the Accor Arena, improved to 20-5 at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

“I started the match in the worst way possible, especially against a big server like Feli,” said Nadal. “After that, I played under a lot of pressure the rest of the match, but I found a way. That's the main thing... This victory is one that I am very proud of. The personal satisfaction sometimes is bigger when you win these matches than if you go on court and you win 6-3, 6-3.”

Nadal is aiming to capture his first Rolex Paris Masters title. The 2007 runner-up has reached the quarter-finals or better in each of his previous seven tournament appearances.

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