PARIS (AFP) - Rafael Nadal believes that the golden generation of himself, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray could be in its death throes.
The 28-year-old Spaniard may have collected his ninth French Open title and 14th Major on Sunday, but his lingering, tearful appreciation of Roland Garros' Philippe Chatrier court in the aftermath of his win, hinted that he knew change was in the air.
Nadal took his Paris record to a staggering 66 wins against just one loss since his debut as a 19-year-old in 2005. But he will be 29 when he attempts to win a 10th title in 2015 while Sunday's runner-up Djokovic and Wimbledon champion Murray will be 28.
This time next year Federer will be staring down the barrel of his 34th birthday. Between them, those four men have won 39 of the last 44 Grand Slams stretching back to Federer's first Wimbledon title in 2003.
"This year is emotional for different reasons," said Nadal after his record-setting fifth consecutive French Open title. "I am 28, it's not forever. I want to enjoy the moment because I have worked so hard to be here. I will have a few more opportunities but you don't know if I will ever win it again."