'The simple fact of facing Rafael Nadal was already...', says ATP star

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'The simple fact of facing Rafael Nadal was already...', says ATP star

Rafael Nadal returned to the field after about two months of absence and made his debut in Washington against American tennis player Jack Sock. Everyone saw the Spanish champion clearly favored while the American fought to the end and was one step away from victory.

Almost three hours of battle in Washington with Rafa under a break in the third set and with physical problems that really put his victory at risk. In the post-match press conference Nadal spoke about those foot problems that continue to bother him.

At the end of the match, the number 3 in the world and twenty times winner of Grand Slam tournaments made interesting statements: "It was a beautiful evening in terms of energy and the audience was incredible. The support of the city has come from the first day I was here, I am really very happy to visit Washington and to play here for my first time in my career.

The match was not easy, I started well in the first set but then I was bad in the second and I started to suffer a lot in the foot, Jack started to give great points and I could not be incisive with my shots. It was tough but I finished the match growing up and that's the important thing.

I hope to be ready for my next match. I think I could have done better on the serve, I had too low percentages and when you do this with a tennis player like him it becomes more complicated. It's never easy to play against him, he knows how to hurt you.

In the end I managed to win but I imagined that after two months of absence it would not be an easy race. But I'm here and I'll be able to play tomorrow too, that's the good news. Physically I'm fine, I just need this foot pain to stop but my condition is good.

I've been through these things several times in my career, so it's something that doesn't bother me. It's about winning races like these that help you improve."

Opelka talks about Rafael Nadal

Reilly Opelka recently claimed that Rafael Nadal has been his favorite player since his childhood and that he considers the Spaniard to be the "greatest"

Opelka further revealed that Nadal used to be his inspiration when he played dress-up on Halloween in the past. "With my style of play, unfortunately, there was not much to do," Reilly Opelka said. "The simple fact of facing Rafa was already great, he is the greatest and was playing on his court."

The 23-year-old further claimed he wanted to beat Rafael Nadal in Rome, before reiterating his "respect" towards the 20-time Major champion. "He was always my favorite player growing up, I dressed as him for Halloween twice, so facing a legend like him is incredible," Opelka added. "I wanted to go out and win, but there was a lot of respect I feel for him, I think it happens to us all."