World No. 48 Arthur Rinderknech revealed that Rafael Nadal congratulated him on his Adelaide 2 triumph. Rinderknech, 26, reached his first ATP final in Adelaide before losing to local favorite Thanasi Kokkinakis. On Tuesday, Rinderknech outclassed Alexei Popyrin in five sets in his first match in Melbourne.
"I had the opportunity to meet Rafa (Nadal) in the locker room this morning. He told me: 'Bravo for your performance last week,'" Rinderknech said, as revealed by Quentin Moynet. Kokkinakis, who received a wild card in Adelaide, recovered from a set down to beat Rinderknech 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-3 to win his first ATP title.
“When I saw that final ball go long, I don't think I felt emotions like that,” Kokkinakis reflected after the win. “You grow up playing, you never know if it's ever going to happen. I did a final (ATP) before.
Down a set, down a mini break in the tiebreak. From there, from 2-0 in the second set, I started to play tennis very well. To do it in Adelaide, a court I grew up playing on when I was seven, eight, nine, my hometown, in front of friends and family, they've had a tough year, they've gone through the ups and downs with me, yeah I'm so happy." After years of battling various injuries, Kokkinakis lifted his first ATP title.
“Just many, many emotions. Just relief. Happy. Not just for myself and the work I did, but for everyone who supported me. They see me at my lowest points,” Kokkinakis said. “Going that high, it's just validation, just happiness for everyone involved.
It's as much his title as it is mine. Only emotions overflowed."
Rafael Nadal praises Alcaraz
Rafael Nadal recently heaped praise on Spanish teen prodigy Carlos Alcaraz, who has been making giant strides on the men's tour over the last year.
“Does he have a chance of winning here? Yes, what can I say? Why not?" Nadal said to the ATP. "He’s a young player that is clearly on the up and we’ll see what happens. At the moment, everything is unpredictable and he’s a player with huge potential." The Spaniard highlighted the fact that Alcaraz has made immense progress, rising from outside the top 100 last year to his current career-high of No.
31. “Last year he made big strides up the rankings and in his level. I’m sure he will do so again this year. From there, we’ll see from day to day where his potential takes him,” he said. “At the end of the day, when you have all that potential and you’re a hard worker too, it’s unlikely things will go badly for you. You would expect him to have more chances to fight for big things as each tournament goes by,” the Spaniard said.
Nick Kyrgios reacts to resurfaced Rafael Nadal's stunning return from 2015 Shanghai
Rafael Nadal's unawareness of a fractured rib
After Rafael Nadal in 2022, Carlos Alcaraz also set to play exhibition in Mexico
The candidates for the Tennis Hall of Fame: there's Rafael Nadal's coach
Nick Kyrgios' failed mission - Beating Rafael Nadal
Rod Laver addresses Rafael Nadal targeting post-surgery comeback in 2024