“Very Big Inspiration to My Life”: When NBA Great Steve Nash Expressed His Admiration for Rafael Nadal

Published 04/02/2021, 3:30 PM EDT
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 06: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning his Men’s Singles semi-final match against Matteo Berrettini of Italy on day twelve of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has been one of the greatest ambassadors of tennis. To date, there has not been a more dominant player on the clay courts than the Spaniard. Winning the French Open on thirteen occasions is a feat that may never be repeated again. 

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Recently, Rafael Nadal was praised by former NBA All-Star player and current head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, Steve Nash. The Canadian former professional basketball player was recently at the Rafa Nadal Academy. He was sharpening his tennis skills and lauded the place for its great facilities. However, he did state that he has some work to do as he has just recently started trying his hand at the sport. 

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 08: Rafael Nadal of Spain smiles in a practice session during previews for the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 Arena on November 08, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Nash stated, “I just had a great lesson here, the coaches were fantastic. Sergio taught me a lot. I’ve got a lot to work on obviously as I’m just starting to play the game. It’s an inspiring place to learn the game. Not only is it technically a great academy and great facility, but it is also the home of Rafa, one of the greatest athletes in the world.

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The two-time Most Valuable Player of the NBA also praised Rafa and termed him as one of the greatest athletes in the world, across all sports. He further credited the Spaniard for being a great inspiration to his life. 

The 47-year-old added, “So it’s a pleasure for me to be here and to share the facility with everybody and obviously, he’s a very big inspiration to my life. So I’m honored to be here.” 

LOS ANGELES, CA. – JAN. 1, 2012. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni talks with point guard Steve Nash during a break in the action against the 76ers on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Nash himself had a decorated career, and he played for 18 seasons at the NBA. For most of his career, he played for the Phoenix Suns. Along with being a two-time MVP, he featured in the All-Stars team on eight occasions. Besides, he also played for the Dallas Mavericks and ended his career with Los Angeles Lakers.

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Coming back to Nadal’s current tennis season, the Spaniard began things by competing at the Australian Open. After his quarterfinal exit to Stefanos Tsitsipas, he has not featured in any event. Nonetheless, he will be seen at the first ATP Masters 1000 clay-court event in Monte Carlo.

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DIVE DEEPER

“Met Him at Laver Cup”: Bjorn Borg’s Son Leo Names Rafael Nadal as His Idol

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Rohan Kollare

599 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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