“The challenge of trying to go to where Rafa has gone is also a big motivation for me, even if I know it’s all but impossible.”
The recent Umag champion famously faced his idol and mentor on the clay courts of Madrid earlier this year, on his 18th birthday.
Speaking after their match back in May, the 35-year-old was complimentary of his young Spanish successor, saying: “I’ve spoken a few times when I’ve seen him at tournaments… I see a lot of great qualities in him already.”
“For example when playing a match like today, he didn’t complain a single time and had a great attitude despite losing the way he did. In Australia, he had a 15-day quarantine, and he accepted it without complaint,” Nadal added.
“When it’s time to train, every time I’ve seen him practice he has a great attitude and good energy. This is what I see from him on a day-to-day basis and I can see how he treats the people around him. To me, this shows that he has great character.”