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King of Clay Rafael Nadal Proves His Eternal Presence at French Open as 23YO Argentinian Youngster Pays Tribute With a Touching Gesture

Published 06/08/2023, 4:30 AM EDT

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Rafael Nadal might be missing out on the Roland Garros this year. However, his influence and legacy are something that still stays on the court, and young players like Tomás Martín Etcheverry are keeping it alive. The 23-year-old Argentinian player had a grueling face-off against Alexander Zverev. And Etcheverry remembered the ‘King of Clay’ before he went out on the court.

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Over the years, tennis enthusiasts have seen Rafa sticking to some of his routines without fail. Seems like young players looking up at him are sticking to them too.

Tomás Martín Etcheverry pays an ode to the ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal before the French Open quarter-finals 

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The Argentinian player became the talk of the town because of his swift run at Roland Garros. The player took down No.18 Alex De Minaur, No.15 Borna Coric, and No.27 Yoshihito Nishioka to reach the quarter-finals.

Facing Alexander Zverev for the first time, who has had quite a lot of experience on the court, needed some bracing up to do.

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Apart from his astounding gameplay, he sought out luck from the Spanish tennis legend, Rafael Nadal. For that, after doing his warmup, he touched Nadal’s picture with his Roland Garros trophy thrice for luck.

And to some extent, the luck worked but only to put a tough challenge against Zverev but not enough for him to secure a victory.

Novak Djokovic replaces Nadal as Etcheverry’s idol

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However, Etcheverry considers Rafa’s arch-rival and direct competitor for the highest number of Grand Slam titles, Novak Djokovic, as his idol. So much so that he has kept a tally of how many points behind is he of his Novak Djokovic‘s.

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Last year Zverev met Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the French Open where he suffered a brutal ankle injury. This year, he made sure to not leave any stone unturned and see his victory through. He defeated the Argentinian player by  6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a four-set match.

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WATCH THIS STORY: ‘He’s a perfectionist’ -days after Novak Djokovic’s friendship bomb on Roger Federer, ex-coach blunt revelation shows mysterious similarities between the two tennis legends

With Zverev in the semi-finals, now he will face Norwegian player Casper Ruud. Who do you think will get into the finals this year? Let us know your pick in the comments below.

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Shivali Sharma

1438 articles

Shivali Sharma is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports, who specializes in off-court topics and has a particular focus on the legendary ‘Queen of the Court’, Serena Williams. With a wealth of experience in the industry, Shivali has authored numerous articles covering varied topics concerning the 23-time Grand Slam champion, including her personal life, career, and more. In addition to her work on Serena Williams, Shivali is also a huge fan of Naomi Osaka and admires the four-time Major winner, particularly for her advocacy for mental health.

Edited By: Akash Pandhare

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