'I didn’t know who Rafael Nadal was, but...', says young star

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'I didn’t know who Rafael Nadal was, but...', says young star

The day of the "A Day at the Drive" exhibition event has arrived in the city of Adelaide, where, among others, the world number 1 Novak Djokovic and the blue promise Jannik Sinner are engaged. Just the two of them will be engaged against each other, even if unfortunately at a particularly difficult time for the Italian public: the challenge between the Serbian and the South Tyrolean in fact will begin at 03:30 Italian (therefore in the night between Thursday and Friday).

In the morning, however, Rafael Nadal will face Dominic Thiem. As for women, there is great anticipation for the re-match of the final of the US Open 2018 between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka and the challenge between the no.

1 and n. 2 of the WTA rankings, Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep. Rafael Nadal has had a profound impact on several players and youngsters in the sport. Nadal's focus and never-say-die attitude have made him an inspiration and a role model to millions across the world.

Among them is Jordanian teenager Abedallah Shelbayh, who recently revealed that he switched from playing with his right hand to his left hand because of the Spanish legend.

Shelbayh pays tribute to Rafael Nadal

"I have practiced with him.

I wanted to as soon as I arrived, then one day Rafael Nadal and Carlos Moya heard about me from Toni [Nadal] and I got to play with him," Abedallah Shelbayh said in an interview with ITF. "Since then, I have played with him a lot and I think he likes playing with me," he added.

"I’m really close with Rafa and Carlos and they’re really nice, but it is strange practicing with my idol and someone I changed my racket hand to be like. I started playing tennis with my right hand, then one day I saw somebody playing differently with their left hand and it was Rafael Nadal," Shelbayh said.

"I didn’t know who he was, but when I was playing against a wall I tried playing with my left hand. I was changing every day until my dad told me that I had to decide which hand I was going to play with and I chose left."

The 17-year-old claimed that Rafael Nadal's hunger for success and focus on tennis help inspire those around him, and that the Spaniard gives nothing less than 100% every time he steps on to the practice court. "When you see him and get to know him, you see how serious he is about tennis," Shelbayh said.

"He is one of the best, some might say the best, but he is hungry for more and that rubs off on you and gives you motivation. I have learned so much. He’s always giving his best in training, so nice and not arrogant at all. He’s a great guy."