“Will Always Be My Favorite Player” – Fanboy Reilly Opelka Expresses Admiration for Idol Rafael Nadal

Published 08/05/2021, 1:05 PM EDT
MONTREAL, QC – AUGUST 11: Rafael Nadal (ESP) salutes the crowd after his win of the ATP Coupe Rogers final match on August 11, 2019 at IGA Stadium in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Undoubtedly, even as fans enjoyed every bit of the action they got from the tennis events at the Tokyo Olympics, they missed the likes of some of the greatest names in the sport. Notably, Spanish giant Rafael Nadal was among the many who missed out on the competition. However, after a two-month-long break, he finally made a comeback to the sport and fans are loving it.

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Ever since Nadal announced his sabbatical from the sport, fans waited anxiously for a quick-fire return. Safe to say, the maestro delivered just that. He came back with a bang and won the hearts of many, including his fellow rivals.

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American national and Nadal’s tennis peer, Reilly Opelka, was all praise for the Spaniard recently. In fact, recalling their most recent outing against each other, he revealed details that every Nadal fan would relate to.

Rafael Nadal will always be Reilly Opelka’s favorite player

The two tennis enthusiasts met earlier this year, in the semi-finals of the Italian Open. Even though Nadal won that battle convincingly, his American counterpart had the kindest admiration for him.

He said, “The simple fact of facing Rafa was already great, he is the biggest and was playing on his court.

“I wanted to go out and win, but there was a lot of respect I have for him, I think it happens to all of us. I have the utmost respect for Rafa, he is the greatest, he was my favorite player and always will be.”

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 13, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his third round match against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Revealing his truest feelings for the former World No. 1, Reilly explained his childhood obsession for the 20-time Grand Slam champion. “He was always my favorite player growing up, I disguised myself twice from him on Halloween, so facing a legend like him is amazing.”

Watch this story: Top Most Disrespectful Questions Asked to Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Others

Injury scare for Rafa

Rafael bought ease to fans across the globe as he returned to the court in style. Taking part at the Citi Open for the first time, Washington fans gave him a roaring welcome. In return, Nadal reciprocated by putting on a show, displaying vintage Rafa doing Rafa things. However, not all went according to plan for the Spanish maestro.

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Playing in his second-round match against Jack Sock, Rafael went all guns blazing against the American. Likewise, his opponent left no stone unturned, either.

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However, halfway through the match, the Spaniard was seen limping, hinting at a foot injury exit. Regardless, he did not let it limit his performance and went on to win the game in a thriller set. Even as fans celebrated his triumphant win, they had won eye on his foot, worrying if he will continue further in the tournament and return home, yet again.

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Melroy Fernandes

280 articles

Melroy Joseph Fernandes is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. A Mass Media graduate, Melroy has been a content writer for the past 6 years, curating stories for several brands, starting from his own. At the age of 17, Melroy began his writing Journey with Team BIB, an event management company for everything Art and Entertainment.

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