'Rafael Nadal showed outstanding leadership in Madrid 2019,' says Auger-Aliassime

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'Rafael Nadal showed outstanding leadership in Madrid 2019,' says Auger-Aliassime

In the first and only edition of the Davis Cup Finals, Spain defeated Canada in Madrid 2019 to celebrate the crown in front of the home fans. In the first match, Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6, 6-3 before Rafael Nadal took down Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 after a thrilling second set to secure the title for his country.

Speaking about that week, Auger-Aliassime said it was an incredible event, with the world's finest players defending the national colors. After his loss, Felix returned to the Canadian box to support his friend Denis, who gave his everything against Rafa before falling in straight sets.

Praising the Spaniard, Felix said that he enjoyed Nadal's incredible leadership, using it as an inspiration. "For the Canadian players, the Davis Cup Finals event is the world cup of tennis, like those you have in football or basketball.

You fight for your country and always want to deliver your best. It brings exciting matches and unique emotions. The Davis Cup Finals'Finals' tension was very high; we had all the best players competing simultaneously at the same venue.

It was great for the fans too. It was remarkable to represent my country with my teammates and friends. We played well and had a chance to fight against Spain in the final; that's one of my best memories from the court. Vasek Pospisil has always been a great friend; I would even say a big brother.

We have a special relationship, and he is like a family to me. Denis Shapovalov is a complete player; he doesn't have weaknesses with explosive serve and groundstrokes. I would describe him as cold-blooded. He is a killer on the court, not scared of anybody, not even Rafa in front of 12,000 people in Madrid.

Felix Auger-Aliassime honored Rafael Nadal and his Davis Cup Finals performance.

I never heard a crowd like in Madrid 2019. Your anthem is on, and you feel goosebumps. When the Spanish team entered the court, it was something I never felt before.

I didn't play bad; you could feel there's something special around Roberto Bautista Agut, who just lost his father. When he needed it, he found that extra gear and beat me in straight sets. After my loss, we tried to stay positive, and I returned to the stands to support Denis against Rafa.

I remember it was a well-fought match, with Denis having his chances in the second set to force a decider. Rafa showed outstanding leadership and deserved to win. It was one of his memorable triumphs, and it came right in front of my eyes; it was very inspiring for a young player like me.

It became tough for Denis after losing the opening set, but he kept fighting, as always in the Davis Cup, as you never give up. If they went to the doubles, we had Vasek, who didn't play that day and was fresh for the doubles.

It was an excellent decision to keep him fresh for the doubles alongside Denis. We were very proud, standing on the podium with a team like Spain. For sure, it was tough to accept the defeat; I think the whole team was a bit down.

After the match, we wanted to regroup and leave in the locker room, thinking about the future. At the same time, we appreciated what we did that week, stand proudly on the podium with the young and promising team," Felix Auger-Aliassime said.