Rafael Nadal on Pau Gasol retiring: Very sad day for Spanish sport

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Rafael Nadal on Pau Gasol retiring: Very sad day for Spanish sport

Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal said that Pau Gasol retiring from basketball is a "very sad day" for Spanish sport. Gasol, 41, decided to put an end to his highly-succesful career. During his career, Gasol captured two NBA titles, was selected six times to the All-Star game and in 2002 he was named the Rookie of the Year.

"Today is, without a doubt, a very sad day for Spanish sport, one of the great legends of our sport is leaving. He was able to finish as he wanted, yes: fighting for titles," Nadal said, per Punto de Break.

Nadal praised by Casper Ruud

Ruud, who owns a tour-leading five titles in 2021, said that you can learn from Nadal by just watching at him from outside.

"Rafa forces you to hit the ball higher than any other player. He has so much experience that you can learn a lot from him just by looking at him from the outside. His approach during training is simply extraordinary. Novak Djokovic is also very kind and professional.

Nole hits the ball cleaner than the Spaniard. He doesn't impose too high a pace in training, but we are still talking about an absolute champion," Ruusuvuori said, per We Love Tennis. Four of Ruud's five titles in 2021 came on clay and he doesn't mind being labeled a clay-court player.

"I think winning those three tournament back-to-back was something special and something that raises your confidence and belief in yourself, definitely,” Ruud told the ATP Tour. “I don’t mind being a clay court player.

[Rafael] Nadal is the perfect example. "It’s possible for heavy topspin players to play well on [all] the surfaces and [Nadal] is the type of player that I looked up to for many years and will try to learn from when it comes to this transition from clay court to hard court."