Rafael Nadal: 'I deserved the triumph after...'

Rafael Nadal became the protagonist of a fabulous start to the season

by Simone Brugnoli
Rafael Nadal: 'I deserved the triumph after...'

British tennis player Ryan Peniston has revealed that 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal was his favorite player growing up. Peniston, 26, is having the best week of his career, as he defeated Francisco Cerundolo 6-0, 4-6, 6-0 on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals at the Queen's Club.

Peniston, who is in the best position of his career, world number 180, makes his ATP debut this week. In his first ATP tournament, Peniston upset top-seeded Casper Ruud and then also defeated Cerundolo to reach the quarterfinals.

"Rafael Nadal, yes, Rafa," Peniston replied, when asked who his favorite player was as a child. After easily winning the first set, Peniston's level dropped in the second, as Cerúndolo got his first break in the third game and held serve from him the rest of the set to force the decider.

In the third set, Peniston fell as low as 2-4, before earning two consecutive breaks and winning the next four games to seal a three-set victory. "I don't think he wants to wake me up from this anytime soon," Peniston said in his on-court interview.

"I took a lot of confidence from the last match against Casper [Ruud] and came out fired. [The second set didn't go as expected, but he kept fighting. Francisco is a great player. In the third set I managed to fight and get over the line, and I'm quite happy".

Peniston's journey is quite inspiring as he beat cancer when he was only one year old. "He has changed my perspective [on life] tremendously," Peniston said. "When I have a hard day about something or get upset over something small, I remind myself that I literally might not have been here 25 years ago.

Nadal is training on grass

Rafael Nadal recently stated that the Davis Cup win, which came after an injury, was aided by the crowd who witnessed the contest on the claycourt of the Seville Olympic Stadium. "The match against Roddick in the 2004 Davis Cup final is one of those that marked my career, and I will never forget it.

People remember my performance for the freshness and how young I was, but the real architect of the victory was Carlos Moya, who brought us two points," Rafael Nadal said. "I think I claimed victory because the crowd was there to support me; it was essential.

I had some notable matches in every stage of my career, and this is one of them, especially after that injury. I played at a very high level and deserved the triumph after working hard on the practice court," he added.

Rafael Nadal