Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Arthur Fils says it would be "nice" to get a chance to play Rafael Nadal in the French Open final and as a 19-year-old beat the player for whom he has a great level of respect and admiration.
Fils, who won his first ATP title this year and is currently enjoying a career-high ranking of No 36 in the world, had a breakthrough season in 2023. This week, Fils made the final at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah - in which he fell short to Hamad Medjedovic in a tight five-setter.
Nadal noticed Fils' results and he invited the 19-year-old Frenchman to train with him during the offseason in Kuwait. Fils accepted Nadal's invitation and the two will get some work together this month. As Nadal is returning to tennis at the start of the 2024 season, Fils would also love to test himself against the 22-time Grand Slam champion in an official match.
"Maybe not in the first round, but if I can play him in the final at Roland, that suits me. If, at the age of 19, I can stop him in Roland, that would be nice," Fils told L'Equipe.
Nadal invited Fils for a training block during the offseason
This year, Fils won his first ATP title in Lyon and then also broke into the top-100 for the first time in his career following his first triumph.
Also this year, Fils ended as runner-up in Antwerp and he made the semifinal in Hamburg. As a reward for his breakthrough season, Fils will get a chance to train in the offseaso with one of the greatest players ever. “He very kindly invited me.
I’m going to give it my all. I’m going to try not to get too carried away on his forehands (smiles). I’m going to get the most out of it," Fils said. As a kid, Fils idolized Roger Federer but always had a great level of admiration for Nadal.
“My idol was Roger, but the more we grow up, the more we appreciate watching Rafa play, his fighting spirit, his game," Fils said.