“Has All the Traits We Love”: Australian Open 2021 Organizer Heaps Praise on Rafael Nadal

Published 02/21/2021, 5:00 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 17, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley has heaped praise on 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, saying that he embodies all the traits that the organizers of the ongoing Australian Open associate themselves with.

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Despite battling back spasms, the superstar Spaniard reached the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park this year but couldn’t kick on to what would have been his second Australian Open title.

Nadal suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open QF

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Leading by two sets, Nadal lost the next in a stunning turnaround against the Greek World Number 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas to go out in the last-eight stage.

However, up until his exit in the quarters, Nadal had looked to be a firm contender for the title, not having dropped a single set on his way to the tournament’s last eight.

In a glowing tribute to the Spaniard, who is the face of Kia Motors which is the top sponsor of the Australian Open and the tournament’s travel partner, Tiley said he puts every ounce of energy to be successful and it is also the endeavor of those working behind the scenes at the Australian Open.

“Rafa has all the traits that we love…you’re putting every single ounce of energy in having to do something successfully. You do it in a respectful way, you do with a great deal of empathy and humbleness,” Tiley said.

Tennis Australia CEO said Rafael Nadal continues to “innovate” and “transform” his game to breed success

He added that much like the automobile giant and the organizers of the Grand Slam, Nadal continues to “innovate” and “transform” his game to breed unprecedented success.

Though currently tied with old enemy Roger Federer for the highest number of Grand Slam titles, at 20 apiece, Nadal will rue his missed chance to lift the trophy this year and go past the Swiss.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 15, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his fourth round match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini REUTERS/Kelly Defina

He had earlier withdrawn from Spain’s campaign in the ATP Cup to give his back more time to heal ahead of the Australian Open. The Spaniard came close – in 2012 and 2014 – to lifting the title but fell at the final hurdle.

He lost to the current World Number 1 Novak Djokovic in the 2012 final, while in 2014, the Spaniard was upstaged by Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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