Rafael Nadal is a source of inspiration for many players who play in the male and female circuit. The Spanish legend has been able to extend his career far beyond expectations, even if in 2021 physical problems have appeared again.
Suffice it to say that the 35-year-old Iberian has played just seven official tournaments this year, while still managing to score a couple of titles (Barcelona and Rome). The foot injury prevented him from expressing himself 100% at Roland Garros, his great goal of the season, where he surrendered to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
After missing Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, the former world number 1 attempted to return to the hard court in Washington, but soon realized the pain was unbearable. A few days later, Rafa announced his decision to remain in the pits until the beginning of 2022.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion also underwent a minor foot treatment a few weeks ago. During the latest episode of 'CrossCourt', the new series created by the ATP and the WTA, Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz revealed their admiration for the Majorcan.
Hurkacz praises Rafael Nadal
"So I know you're a big Rafael Nadal fan, how much do you look up to him at his game style, or maybe at his routines? What do you want to implement in your game?" Hurkacz asked.
"Basically it's not only about the game, because of course I love his topspin and just how he plays on clay," Swiatek replied. "Clay is also my favorite surface. So when I was younger, I wanted to be like him, but I knew it's kind of impossible, because he's much stronger, and I also like his attitude and how he behaves off-court."
Hurkacz echoed Swiatek's comments about Nadal's personality, saying the Spaniard sets an "amazing example" for younger players on tour. "Yeah, I think he is an amazing example, the way he works hard and his attitude on the match, and also how he behaves, and that's also like your topspin's pretty heavy as well," Hurkacz said.
"It worked at the French Open I think even better than his, so it was pretty good." Hurkacz agreed with Swiatek's point of view, highlighting how Nadal always makes it a point to greet everyone. "Yeah, I mean he always says hi to everyone, super, super nice," Hurkacz said.
"So really (he is) an inspiration." Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic have withdrawn from the competition at Indian Wells.