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.
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.
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.
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.
He had earlier withdrawn from Spain’s campaign in the ATP Cup to give his back more time to heal ahead of the Australian Open.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.
READ MORE- WATCH: Rafael Nadal’s Top Shots of 2020