'Rafael Nadal's leadership in incredible,' young gun recalls

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'Rafael Nadal's leadership in incredible,' young gun recalls

Spain defeated Canada in the final of the first edition of the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid 2019, celebrating the title in front of the home fans. In the first match, Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6, 6-3 before Rafael Nadal took down Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 after a thrilling second set to secure the title for his country.

Speaking about that week, Auger-Aliassime said it was an incredible event, with the world's finest players defending the national colors. After his loss, Felix returned to the Canadian box to support Denis. The latter gave his everything against Rafa before falling in straight sets.

Praising the Spaniard, Felix said that he enjoyed Nadal's incredible leadership, using it as an inspiration. "For the Canadian players, the Davis Cup Finals event is the World Cup of tennis. You fight for your country and always want to deliver your best.

It brings exciting matches and unique emotions. The Davis Cup Finals' tension was very high, with all the best players competing. It was great for the fans too. It was remarkable to represent my country with my teammates and friends.

We played well and had a chance to fight against Spain in the final; that's one of my best tennis memories. Denis Shapovalov is a complete player; he does not have weaknesses with explosive serve and groundstrokes. I would describe him as cold-blooded.

He is a killer on the court, not scared of anybody, not even Rafa in front of 12,000 people in Madrid.

Felix Auger-Aliassime honored Rafael Nadal and his Davis Cup Finals performance.

I never heard a crowd like in Madrid 2019.

Your anthem is on, and you feel goosebumps. When the Spanish team entered the court, it was something I had never felt before. I did not play bad; you could feel there's something special around Roberto Bautista Agut, who just lost his father.

When he needed it, he found that extra gear and beat me in straight sets. We tried to stay positive, and I returned to the stands to support Denis against Rafa. I remember it was a well-fought match, with Denis having his chances in the second set.

Rafa showed outstanding leadership and deserved to win. It was one of his memorable triumphs, and it came right in front of my eyes; it was very inspiring for a young player like me. It became challenging for Denis after losing the opening set.

Still, he kept fighting, as you never give up in the Davis Cup. We were very proud, standing on the podium alongside a team like Spain. For sure, it was tough to accept the defeat; I think the whole team was a bit down. At the same time, we appreciated what we did that week, stand proudly on the podium with the young and promising team," Felix Auger-Aliassime said.