'That's the truth': Rival spills stunning 11-year secret about Rafael Nadal

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga claims Rafael Nadal (pictured) was feeling unwell and struggling during his astonishing loss to Robin Soderling at the 2009 French Open. (Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal is undoubtedly the King of Clay with a record unparalleled on any surface in the Open Era throughout his illustrious career.

Nadal has picked up 12 Roland-Garros titles, which is incredible considering no other male has won more than eight titles at one Grand Slam in the Open Era.

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Which is why his loss to Robin Soderling, and the manner in which it came, at the 2009 French Open stunned the tennis world.

Nadal, up until that point in his career, had never lost on the red clay in Paris.

But the in-form Soderling blasted Nadal off the court in a stunning 4th Round loss for the Spaniard.

Despite Soderling going all the way to the final, fans were still stunned at how he demolished a seemingly flawless Nadal.

Tsonga reveals Nadal illness

However, nearly 11 years after that surprising loss, friend and rival Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has praised Nadal’s humble nature, but claimed the Spaniard wasn’t himself that day.

Tsonga, speaking Live on Twitch, claimed players were aware the King of Clay was suffering from an illness but Nadal would never admit it to the public to take away from his opponent.

“Rafa will never speak about this, but when he lost to Soderling at the French Open in 2009, we all knew he was sick,” he said.

“He had a bad throat and did not feel well at all. That’s the truth.”

Spanish player Rafael Nadal (L) and Swedish player Robin Soderling leave the court after their French Open tennis round of 16 match. (Photo credit should read CYRILLE CADET/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite Tsonga’s revelation, Nadal bounced back stronger than ever after the 2009 French Open loss.

After Roger Federer went on to win the 2009 title, the Spaniard won five straight Roland-Garros championships.

His only other loss on Paris’ red clay was from Novak Djokovic in 2015.