'Although Rafael Nadal is not at his best, he is capable of...', says legend

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'Although Rafael Nadal is not at his best, he is capable of...', says legend

The WTA legend, the American Serena Williams, spoke before Wimbledon about what a fan she is of Rafael Nadal. On Tuesday, the Spaniard returned the honors after his first-round victory against Argentina's Francisco Cerúndolo.

“First of all, thank you for Serena's words. I read them]. It's great to hear these beautiful things from probably one of the greatest female athletes in the history of sport in general," Nadal said. “And it's great that she's trying to come back.

The only thing that shows is passion and love for the game. After all the things that she achieved and the long period of time that she was injured, it is very difficult to try to come back”. Nadal has shown similar passion in overcoming his chronic foot injury as well as a stress fracture to his ribs earlier this year.

Williams competed in singles for the first time since Wimbledon last year. "The simple fact of being here shows that she has a lot of love for her work and for this game," Nadal said. "I think she's a great example." While it's no surprise that the all-time greats have a high level of mutual respect, fans may not know that Williams named his dog after Nadal, similar to the way Sebastian Korda named his cat.

in honor of the Spanish. "Obviously I'm always rooting for Rafa," Williams said. “He's been really inspiring with everything he's done this year. And he has a lot more to do”.

Rafa Nadal won 22 Grand Slam titles

Rafael Nadal is an inspiration to many athletes beyond the tennis world as well.

"There is also a reference called Rafa Nadal , who even when they considered him retired, has been able to overcome the pain and win again. It was precisely with him that I met when they played the Masters 1000 in Madrid," Marquez wrote of Rafael Nadal.

"I know everything he has suffered and that is why he is a reference for me, because although he is not at his best, he is capable of winning tournaments like Roland Garros," he added. Nadal has time and again spoken about the extent of pain he has suffered over the years due to a chronic injury to his left foot.

Marquez can very well relate to those sentiments. "I remember that he admitted in a press conference that the pain changed his mood and I understand that," Marquez continued. Earlier this year, Nadal sent a motivational message to Marquez after learning of the 29-year-old's injury.