'Rafael Nadal showed his immense love for the sport', says top coach



by   |  VIEW 5091

'Rafael Nadal showed his immense love for the sport', says top coach

The Miami Open presented by Itaú draws to a close on Sunday and is set for an exciting climax as World No. 8 Casper Ruud takes on #NextGenATP sensation Carlos Alcaraz at Hard Rock Stadium. [6] Casper Ruud (NOR) vs. [14] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz had something in common when they arrived in Miami two weeks ago: neither knew what it was like to win a match at the ATP Masters 1000 event in South Florida.

Five wins later and having dropped just one set apiece en route to Sunday's final, both players have rectified that record in spectacular fashion. On Sunday, they each have the opportunity to cap off a dream career in Miami by capturing an inaugural Masters 1000 crown.

After losing his three previous Masters 1000 semi-finals, all on his favorite clay, sixth-seeded Ruud broke his hex in style on Friday with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Argentina's Francisco Cerúndolo. The Norwegian's clean hitting from both sides appears to be ready for the hard courts of Miami, although the World No.

8 admits he is still pleasantly surprised by his progress at Hard Rock Stadium. “It wasn't where I imagined playing my first Masters 1000 final [on a hard court], but I accept the challenge,” Ruud said after defeating Cerúndolo.

“It's a great feeling and I'm enjoying the city and the tournament. It was brutal today. A very humid climate, which made breathing a bit difficult”. Of Ruud's nine ATP Tour finals to date, eight have been on clay.

Rafael Nadal suffered a stress fracture to his ribs during the recently-concluded Indian Wells Masters while playing Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals.

Rafa won three tournaments in 2022

Canadian tennis coach Rob Steckley lauded Rafael Nadal's never-say-die attitude on a recent podcast, highlighting how no barrier is big enough to stop the Spaniard from playing tennis.

"Nadal, that guy's (laughs) he seems like he's falling apart but he just never leaves us," Steckley said. "When I was coaching Denis (Shapovalov), we'd always talk about when that guy was ever gonna leave tennis."

But according to him, the fact that the 35-year-old still leaves his heart and soul out on the court showcases his immense love for the sport and competition. "And he's that guy that literally - there is nothing else for that guy you know.

He's got the most money in the world, he's got everything," Steckley added. "And still, that guy will, even with one leg, he's still gonna try to compete and do what he does, so that's also admirable and courageous."