WATCH: Crowd Erupts As Young Fan Shouts ‘I Love You Rafa’ During Rafael Nadal Match at Citi Open 2021

Published 08/06/2021, 2:26 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 23, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Albert Gea


It is no secret that 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has fans all around the world. However, he hadn’t got the opportunity to play in front of his fans in Washington, DC, so far. Thus, when he decided to make his debut appearance at the Citi Open 2021, the local fans got excited to see him live. Accordingly, a mesmerizing cheer for Rafa from a young fan became the moment of the day.

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During his opening match against Jack Sock, an adolescent admirer screamed, “I love you, Rafa” twice. Naturally, the entire crowd at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park laughed unanimously.

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Rafael Nadal vs Jack Sock: A complete thriller

Engaging in a three-set battle that ran over three hours, Nadal and Sock entertained the crowd with their tennis. Unsurprisingly, the Spaniard had received a large portion of the fan support even when his opponent is an American. Even so, Sock smilingly countered with the crowd.

Ultimately, the thrilling contest needed a decider tiebreaker to set the two apart. Nadal came on top of Sock and closed the match 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (1).

Aug 4, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates against Jack Sock of the United States (not pictured) during the Citi Open at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, all good things run to an end, and so did Rafa’s time in the American capital. Without a doubt, it was a shocking upset for the Spanish.

Although the crowd rattled behind the 35-year-old and pushed him to a third set again, he could not get past the finish line this time. In the third round in Citi Open 2021, Nadal crashed out against World No. 50 Lloyd Harris 4-6, 6-1, 4-6.

But being the champion that he is, Nadal said, “The most painful thing is not to be able to be on court tomorrow in front of this amazing crowd,” after the match.

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Nadal gives a positive update on his left foot injury

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During his match against Sock, Nadal realized his left foot injury again. He even went on to say that it was “painful tonight” for him.

However, after losing to Harris, Nadal happily gave the reassurance that his injury was improving. Additionally, he even expressed his optimism about the tournaments coming up ahead.

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Hopefully, the Spaniard will become 100% fit until the US Open 2021 arrives. Let’s see what his 2021 season will bring him next.

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Purav Joshi

1123 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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