The 11-time French Open champ, Rafael Nadal is acing through the courts of the Melbourne Park and now has sailed into the fourth round of the Australian Open 2019. He has not stepped on the professional tennis courts since the US Open despite that the maestro plays impeccable tennis. The Spaniard surpassed the fastest player on tour, Alex De Minaur in the third round. Nadal and Minaur have met twice, the first at the Wimbledon and then in Melbourne, and maintaining the same scores both the times, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Today, as he was playing an Australian teenager, in a way, Rafa felt a few percentage of the packed Rod Laver Arena were cheering for him.
In his post-match press conference, Nadal articulated his admiration towards the 14-time major champion golfer, Tiger Woods. Once, right after his triumph at the Roger Cup, Nadal checked his phone as he was eager to know what was Tiger Woods’ status. Also, at the 2017 US Open Woods was seated in Nadal’s box.
Nadal holds high esteem for Woods. He stays up late night watching Woods chipping on the golf course and doesn’t miss any tournament of his. Rafa believes that Woods leads by an example of a sports person and does look up to him. “Is not new that Tiger is one of the sportsmen that I admire the most,” Nadal addressed the press in Melbourne. “I stay until 2 in the evening if he’s playing always at home. I follow him every tournament that he plays. I love his attitude on the course. In some way, yes, he’s an inspiration. After all the things that happened to him, he’s able to fight back, he’s able to win again, is able to put him in a position that he can win majors again. That’s fantastic I think for the sport. That’s a great history.”
Apparently, the ‘King of Clay’, Nadal navigates the golf club with his right hand. He hosted the inaugural Rafa Nadal Golf Challenge nearby his residence in Manacor last year. Nadal feels that tennis much follow the professional traditions of golf, where the former champions turn out to be the directors and administrators of the sport’s tournament.