Rafael Nadal will make his City Open debut on Wednesday, competing in Washington for the first time and returning to action following that heartbreaking Roland Garros loss to Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard has had a couple of entertaining days in the American capital, visiting the city a bit and training with Sebastian Korda and Grigor Dimitrov.
Asked about Korda, Nadal praised the younger and said he is among the ones to watch in the years to come. Rafa backed Sebastian to keep training and improving, having no doubts that the young American will reach the top one day.
The Spaniard and the American played against each other at the last year's Roland Garros, as Korda reached the fourth round on his Parisian debut. Rafa beat Sebastian 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 55 minutes, controlling the pace on a windy day to advance into the last eight.
Rafael Nadal praised Sebastian Korda after training with him in Washington.
Nadal saved five out of six break chances and produced eight breaks from 11 opportunities, never losing focus despite some weak moments in harsh conditions.
Rafa saved two break points in the first game and opened a 5-0 gap after 28 minutes. The American held at love in game six with a service winner to add his name on the scoreboard before Nadal closed the set a few minutes later.
Rafa produced three comfortable holds in set number two and stole Korda's serve thrice for 6-1 to move a set away from victory. The youngster grabbed a break at the beginning of the third set with a backhand winner and opened a 2-0 gap, feeling the ball in those moments and hoping to keep that pace.
Shifting into a higher gear, Rafa rattled off the next six games to race over the top, sealing the deal with a return winner at 5-2 to sail into the quarters. "Sebastian has a good physical look, good serve and reliable shots from the baseline.
I think he's a great guy and a complete player. Sebastian has many things to achieve in the following years in our sport. Since I saw him play, I have always believed that he would have a chance to be one of the world's leading players.
He has all the things he needs to definitely be a top guy. Of course, things are not easy, and you need to keep improving. But I definitely believe that Sebastian will be a great player," Rafael Nadal said.