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Monday, August 8, 2022

“It’s hard to deal with all that success at such an early point in your life but I wish her all the best, she is a great personality for our sport”

Rafael Nadal is of the opinion that Emma Raducanu is a great representative for tennis, and hopes that she can get back to her winning ways soon. The 22-time Grand Slam champion also hopes that the Brit can find a way to deal with the burden of expectations that have been placed on her in light of her unprecedented success at the US Open last year.

Since winning the title at Flushing Meadows as a qualifier, Raducanu has failed to string together two successive wins at Grand Slams, exiting in the second round at all three Majors this season. Most recently, the teenager fell to Caroline Garcia in straight sets at the Wimbledon Championships in front of her home fans, drawing a lot of criticism from fans online.

“I know she’s having a tough year, but on the other hand she already won a slam at a very early stage of her career. That gives her I think calm to take her time to keep improving and to keep having chances in the near future. I really hope that she will.” (3/3)

Nadal, however, has had a completely different year Slam-wise, and is now 16-0 at Majors in 2022. The World No. 4 defeated Ricardas Berankis in the second round at SW19 on Thursday, and will take on Lorenzo Sonego up next.

More from Nadal on Raducanu: “Then it’s difficult to manage all this kind of success at a very early stage of your life, no? But I wish her all the very best. I think she’s a very important character for our sport.” (2/3)

Speaking at his press conference afterward, the former World No. 1 was asked whether he had any words of advice for Raducanu, a huge fan of his. The Mallorcan left it to the World No. 11’s team, stating that they would know her personal situation better than him anyway.

Nadal was also asked about Emma Raducanu: “I honestly never had a big interaction with her. But I was very impressed when I saw her winning the US Open. I saw the final. The way that she played was unbelievable.” (1/3)

However, the 36-year-old revealed that he watched her run at the US Open and that he was mighty impressed by the way she handled the situation despite her young age.

“I’m not a big fan of giving advice, really. I think people close to [Emma Raducanu] usually have the best advice because they know her personal situation. I’ve never had much interaction with her, but her triumph at the last US Open was impressive,” Nadal said. “I watched the final and she played in a way that was hard to believe. From there, it’s hard to deal with all that success at [such an early] point in your life, but I wish her all the best.”

The Spaniard reckons Raducanu should take heart from the fact that she has already won a Grand Slam, something most tennis players can only dream of. Secure in that knowledge, Nadal hoped the Brit could focus on her own game and grab the opportunities that are bound to come her way in the future.

“I think she is a great personality for our sport. She’s having a tough year, but on the other hand she’s already won a Grand Slam at a very early stage in her career, which I think will give her peace of mind to keep improving over time. I hope she gets more opportunities soon,” Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal also had some words to say about WTA No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who is currently on a 37-match win-streak. The Pole defeated Lesley Kerkhove in the second round at Wimbledon to equal Martina Hingis‘ record for the longest unbeaten run since 1990.

Nadal on Swiatek: “I texted her a couple of times because it’s unbelievable the way she’s playing. When she’s playing well it’s very difficult to stop her, because her shots are a little bit different. A lot of power and she’s able to move well.”#Wimbledon

The 36-year-old revealed that he has privately congratulated Swiatek a few times before on her accomplishments, adding that the way she has been keeping her focus throughout the streak has been “unbelievable.”

“I’ve messaged [Iga Swiatek] a couple of times because what she’s playing is crazy. The way she’s able to keep her focus and winning spirit for so long is unbelievable,” Nadal said. “It’s hard to make everything that she’s making come true.”

The World No. 4 was of the opinion that the two-time Grand Slam champion will be extremely hard to beat in the coming days, what with her confidence, her power and her amazing movement on the court. Hailing Swiatek as a “breath of fresh air,” the former World No. 1 remarked that he was very happy to see her succeed in such remarkable fashion.

“When she plays well, it’s very difficult to stop her because her shots are a little different. They have a lot of power and she is able to move very well. When she is with confidence it’s going to be very hard to stop her,” Nadal said. “I quite like her, she has a very positive attitude and is a breath of fresh air in the world of tennis. I’m quite happy that a girl like her is so successful.”

“If she’s able to just improve a little bit, we’re talking about a player that will be a multiple Grand Slam winner” – Rafael Nadal on Coco Gauff

Rafael Nadal reckons Coco Gauff can become a multiple Grand Slam winner in the future
Rafael Nadal reckons Coco Gauff can become a multiple Grand Slam winner in the future

Rafael Nadal also lavished praise on Coco Gauff during the press conference, commenting that he was a big fan of her undying spirit on the tennis court. The former World No. 1 was also particularly impressed by the American’s activist side, which made her more mature than her peers in the Mallorcan’s view.

“I like the way that she talks to the crowd and to the press at the end of the matches. She’s fresh. She’s natural,” Nadal said. “Looks very mature in her thoughts. I think she is a fighter. I like the way that she plays. She fights for every ball.”

“I think she is a fighter. I like the way that she plays. She fights for every ball. Even sometimes when she’s not playing that well, she keeps fighting till the end, running for every ball.” (2/3)

The 22-time Grand Slam champion is confident that with a little more tinkering with her game, Gauff can go on to become a multiple Grand Slam winner without a doubt.

“Even sometimes when she’s not playing that well, she keeps fighting till the end, running for every ball,” Nadal said. “If she’s able to just improve a little bit with this physical performance that she has, probably we’re talking about a player that will be a multiple Grand Slam winner.”

About Coco Gauff, Nadal adds that “if she’s able to just improve a little bit with this physical performance that she has, probably we’re talking about a player that will be a multiple Grand Slam winner.”

The teenager reached the final at the French Open last month, falling to Iga Swiatek. At Wimbledon this week, Gauff booked her spot in the third round just like Nadal, defeating Mihaela Buzarnescu in straight sets.

Nadal’s thoughts on Coco Gauff: “I like the way that she talks to the crowd and to the press at the end of the matches. She’s fresh. She’s natural. Looks very mature in her thoughts.” (1/3)


Edited by Nihal Taraporvala

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