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Rafael Nadal is greatest of current era: Vijay Amritraj

Bengaluru: Backing Rafael Nadal to come back strong next year, former Indian ace Vijay Amritraj yesterday said the Spanish star is the greatest of the current generation and will continue to play unbelievable tennis as long as he stays healthy.

Vijay Amritraj
Vijay Amritraj

"Actually, nothing much (has happened to Nadal). He made the world finals in London which means he is the world's best player ... As long as he is healthy he will play unbelievable tennis. He will come back extremely strongly next year, I think," Amritraj told PTI in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of IIMBUE 2015 - IIMB Alumini Leadership Summit - here.

Amritraj said Nadal is ranked among the Top-5 players in the world as he has won fourteen Grand Slams. "I don't think you can pick anything from him. He is a great champion. He has won 14 Grand Slams. He is ranked among Top Five in the world, nothing has happened to him ... He is truly greatest of current generation," he said.

Nadal's performance has come under the scanner by experts around the world with critics arguing that the Spaniard's graph is on the wane. Nadal, who last won a Grand Slam title at Roland Garros 2014, did not win a major in 2015. The most shocking loss came when the 'King of Clay Court' was defeated by Novok Djokovic in French Open.

His other Grand Slam - US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon - exits in 2015 all had major elements of surprise also. Asked about the lineup for great contests next year, Amritraj said Djokovic is the front-runner for winning major titles. "If you look at 2016 lineup you have to keep Djokovic in the front row, and then everyone else follow.

The (preferential lineup) after Djokovic will be Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka," he said. "Nobody has won grand slam except Djokovic last year. Only guy to beat him in the French final was Warwinka. So who are the nearest competitors? These two - Federer and Nadal. Similarly Murray and Wawrinka are there. There would be others who will come along who can cause upsets," Amritraj added.

Asked about Murray's prospects, Amritraj said there is less pressure on him after winning a couple of Grand Slams, Wimbledon and then guiding Great Britain to win Davis Cup Team Trophy for the first time since 1936.

"I think the Davis Cup win gave him incredible amount of confidence and inspired him to individually do better next year. He has won a couple of Grand Slams, and knows what it is to win Wimbledon. Earlier, he did not have them in his kitty - all those monkeys are off his back now. He can play loose and freer. I think there is less pressure on him," he said.

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