Making the first notable steps on the ATP Tour in 2003, Rafael Nadal became the youngest to watch in men's tennis. Equipped with massive talent, physical strength and an iron will, Rafa needed only a couple of years to become one of the world's leading players and a Major champion right after turning 19.
The Spaniard established himself as one of the most fearsome rivals you can get at any surface, always giving his best and refusing to surrender. Over his career, Nadal has bounced back from a match point down to emerge at the top, with the most recent encounter of that kid coming on Sunday against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona Open final.
After the match, Tsitsipas said that Nadal hates to lose more than anyone else on the Tour, drawing inspiration from that and pushing himself to the limits to follow that pace and stay competitive against the greatest clay courter ever.
Rafael Nadal said he doesn't hate losing, as he just likes winning.
Nadal responded that he doesn't hate losing, accepting many tough defeats throughout his career. For Rafa, the most important thing is to show the fighting spirit and give your best every time on the court.
Also, Nadal stated that he had to give his everything in such a great final, prevailing over Stefanos 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 after three hours and 38 minutes of incredible tennis. Tsitsipas survived two match points in the second set before stealing it in the tie break, pushing Nadal to the limits and creating that match point in the deciding set's tenth game.
Rafa saved it and won three straight games to prevail and lift the 12th Barcelona Open title. "The truth is, I don't hate losing; I just like to win. Above anything else, I want to compete and make an effort while trying to achieve my goals.
If they are not completed, I will go home with no hard feelings, knowing that I did everything possible. Today was the title match, and if we don't fight in the encounters like this one, I don't know when we are going to.
It is a daily attitude in life. I have always respected my rivals and the essence of the sport, to do my best every day. If you can improve your level, there's no need to stay on the previous one; when you can go for 100%, you should always try, although it is not always possible," Rafael Nadal said.