'What I find extraordinary about Rafael Nadal is that...', says former ace

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'What I find extraordinary about Rafael Nadal is that...', says former ace

World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas says the Barcelona Open player lineup is strong despite the absence of Rafael Nadal. Nadal, a 12-time Barcelona champion, was forced to sit out of the tournament with a broken rib. Tsitsipas, 23, reached the Barcelona final in 2018 and 2021, losing to Nadal both times.

"I feel good, I am delighted to be in this tournament. I am happy with my tennis and with the great rivals that are here even though this Rafael Nadal is not present. That he is not there does not mean that it is not a great tournament.

I have no pressure to win this year. I think there are players, including myself, who can win the tournament because we adapt well to this surface. I don't think the change from Monaco to Barcelona will affect me. I think going from fast tracks to slow tracks is much more difficult.

This morning I have already trained so that it affects me as little as possible," Tsitsipas said, according to We Love Tennis. With Nadal absent, Tsitsipas is the top seed in Barcelona this week. Ferrer, director of the Barcelona tournament, hopes that Tsitsipas will offer a good week of tennis and a great show to the Barcelona public.

"I am very happy to have players like Tsitsipas, who reached the final with Rafa last year and was about to win Roland Garros, he is a very charismatic player," Ferrer told La Vanguardia.

Clement reflects on Nadal

Former World No.

10 Arnaud Clement has spoken of how he finds it "extraordinary" that Rafael Nadal has always been "extremely polite." "What I find extraordinary about Rafa is that he has always been a player, with his entourage, [who is] extremely polite," Clement said.

"He always comes to say hello, he comes to shake hands as he wins Grand Slams, tournaments every week, Masters 1000 all the time. I don't remember where it was, the day after one of his big victories, we were in the hotel lobby and then he sees me, our eyes meet, I make him a small gesture to greet him and then he crosses the whole hall to shake my hand.

So we respect each other, but I can't say we're close or anything, but here it is, it's Nadal, it's like that," Clement continued. "It's simplicity, we always say hello, whatever the time. Be it a difficult time, an exceptional moment in his career or that he was solicited for dozens of hours by the media from all over the world just before and well, that will not change anything in his attitude, which has always been the same."