Rafael Nadal reached another career milestone on Wednesday, coming from behind to chalk up his 1,000th ATP Tour victory.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion found himself a set down against fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the second round of the Paris Masters but roared back to win 4-6 6-4 6-2 in little over two-and-a-half hours.
Nadal, 34, became just the fourth player to reach 1,000 tour-level wins, joining Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer in the exclusive four-man club.
He will face Australia’s Jordan Thompson in the next round.
‘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 said after winning his first match since claiming a 13th French Open title.
‘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.’
Alexander Zverev, the world No. 7 from Germany, joined Nadal in the third round with a routine 6-2 6-2 win over Miomir Kecmanovic.
While Zverev is in form on the court – this was his ninth consecutive victory – his private life has been dominating headlines off it.
His ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova has accused him of serious physical assault – accusations Zverev branded as ‘unfounded’ and ‘simply untrue’ in a post on Instagram.
Addressing the allegations after the match, the 23-year-old said: ‘I have said everything on my Instagram. There is nothing else I can add right now.
‘I’m here. I’m here to play tennis. The relationship has been over for a very long time.
Paris Masters last-16 ties
Nadal vs Thompson
Carreno Busta vs Gombos
Zverev vs Mannarino
Wawrinka vs Rublev
Schwartzman vs Davidovich Fokina
De Minaur vs Medvedev
Giron vs Raonic
Cilic vs Humbert
‘I’m enjoying my time on court. I have said everything. They (allegations) are not true, and there is nothing more I can say right now.’
Zverev will face France’s Adrian Mannarino next.
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