'Having Rafael Nadal so close is a great influence', says young ace

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'Having Rafael Nadal so close is a great influence', says young ace

Rafael Nadal is a source of inspiration for many young people in every corner of the world. The tenacity and determination of the Spanish legend have pushed him to constantly improve and not be satisfied with the successes already achieved.

Very few imagined seeing the Majorcan competitive even after he was over 30. The Manacor veteran, who won his last Grand Slam a year ago at Roland Garros, had to deal with numerous physical problems in 2021. A back injury limited him in the first half of the season, while pain in his foot prevented him from taking part in Wimbledon and the US Open (not forgetting the Tokyo Olympics).

The former world number 1 tried in vain to return to the hardcourt in Washington, but had to give up in the face of the evidence. A few days later, he announced his decision to rest until early 2022. In a recent interview with Eurosport, US Open junior champion Daniel Rincon stressed how important Nadal was for his growth.

Rincon pays tribute to Rafael Nadal

"Of course," Rincon replied when asked if having Rafael Nadal close to him had helped. "It is not only the things that they say to you, it also has a lot to do with who tells you and how they say it to you.

Having Rafa so close, sometimes even behind me in training, is a great influence," he added. "Part of the improvement I have had in recent years has been thanks to him and his environment." Rincon revealed how Toni always stresses on the importance of not letting success get to your head, particularly after a big triumph like the one the teenager has just had.

"Just this morning I was talking to Toni and he has insisted a lot with that," Rincon said. "He told me that we had done very well, but that now the professional circuit begins, where I am still no one. You have to climb little by little and fight to become a professional."

Rincon also asserted that he is as happy and excited to spend time with the 20-time Grand Slam champion today as he was when they first met. "The first few times were a bit tense, it's true (laughs)," Rincon said.

"In the end, Rafa is someone who had many times on television winning Roland Garros and winning other Grand Slams. Suddenly, having him in front of you and seeing him for real was shocking," he added. (But) I continue to enjoy the most every time I have him around, exactly like the first times."