Rafael Nadal may surpass Roger Federer’s men’s record haul of 16 major tennis titles, Pete Sampras said.
“If he’s smart with his schedule and the fact that he has so many at such a young age, he could very well do it,” Sampras told reporters on a conference call.
Nadal earlier this month became the seventh man to win all four majors with his four-set victory over Novak Djokovic at the U.S. Open final in New York. At 24, Nadal is also the youngest winner of the career Grand Slam since tennis turned professional in 1968. The Spaniard, who is ranked No. 1 in the world, has now won 9 major championships, a mark Federer reached as a 25-year-old.
The former top-ranked Sampras won 14 major singles titles. The American’s record was surpassed by Federer last year at Wimbledon, where the Swiss won his 15th Grand Slam title. Since extending the men’s record to 16 by winning the Australian Open at the start of the season, the 29-year-old Federer hasn’t made it to a major singles final.
“It’s a huge goal, it’s a lot of majors, it’s a lot of work,” Sampras said about Nadal. “Quite honestly, I don’t think he really needs to. He’s won all the majors, he’s won the Olympics, he’s dominated his main rival in Roger.”
Nadal leads Federer 14-7 in career meetings.