'Rafael Nadal is the greatest Spanish athlete ever,' says US Open junior winner

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'Rafael Nadal is the greatest Spanish athlete ever,' says US Open junior winner

An 18-year-old Daniel Rincon conquered the US Open boys singles title last week, the first for his country since Javier Sanchez in 1986. Rincon defeated four seeded rivals in back-to-back matches to go all the way and secure the trophy in his final junior season before focusing on his pro career.

Rincon trains at Rafael Nadal's tennis complex in Mallorca, getting a chance to work at one of the world's best tennis facilities and compete there. Rafa often practices with juniors from his tennis school, and Rincon is among them, learning a lot from the 20-time Major winner and praising him as the most significant Spanish athlete of all time.

In the US Open final, Rincon took down the top-seeded Chinese Juncheng Shang 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 31 minutes, keeping everything under control in the opener and prevailing in the second to embrace the trophy.

Daniel Rincon praised his compatriot Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard lost 16 points behind the initial shot and got broken once, securing three breaks from eight return opportunities to seal the deal in straight sets and bring the trophy home to Mallorca.

Unlike Rincon, Nadal did not have a chance to compete in New York in the past two weeks, struggling with a foot injury and skipping the rest of the season after playing two matches in Washington at the beginning of August.

Rafa underwent treatment on his foot, and Rincon will have a chance to train with him again once Rafa fully recovers. "When Rafa is at home in Manacor, he calls us all to train with him; it's an incredible experience.

When you spend time with Rafa, you realize how great he is and why he has achieved so much. His ball-striking and intensity are unmatched. We do not have the same style of play, but I try to learn as much as possible from him and repeat his desire and will for improvements.

He always tries to inspire us regularly, not talking about the tactics but instructing us to keep the intensity in our legs and be ready for every shot. Rafa is the most successful Spanish player in history, and it motivates us a lot to have him by our side.

It's a unique feeling when he tries to help us all personally, and not many players can experience that," Daniel Rincon said.