Ex-ATP Champ reflects on Rafael Nadal’s impact on Spanish tennis players: “Having him around you can only learn”

After a remarkable 25-year career, former World No. 12 Feliciano Lopez announced his retirement in January 2023, bringing an end to his great career in tennis. Lopez had the chance to observe Rafael Nadal, a fellow countryman’s great influence over his spectacular career.

Lopez appreciates in his reflections the priceless memories and motivation he derived from Rafael Nadal. As we learn more about their relationship, we find a moving story of mentorship and camaraderie that goes beyond the confines of sports.

Lopez appreciates Nadal’s influence

Feliciano Lopez absolutely loves the Federer-Nadal rivalry and the emotions around it as he considers the “GOAT” argument in tennis. The former world No. 12 praises the Federer-Nadal rivalry, which he says has had a significant impact on fans all over the world, in an interview with CLAY in London.

Lopez retired in Mallorca, satisfied with his successes, and now devotes his time to managing tournaments like the Davis Cup Finals and the Madrid Masters 1000.

Feliciano Lopez was questioned in an interview on the possibility of Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz representing Spain at the 2024 Olympics. He said that seeing them compete together, not just in the Olympics but also in the Davis Cup, would be the stuff of dreams for all tennis fans.

When Lopez was questioned about Rafa’s influence and media attention, he said he never felt personally surpassed by his fellow Spanish player. The icon saw Nadal as an inspiration and thinks that being around him has improved both his game and his character. Feliciano thinks that Nadal will play competitively if he plays tennis again since taking a break from it can give you a newfound passion for it.

Lopez really agrees with Juan Monaco that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have had a greater emotional impact on tennis and have inspired younger generations, making their adoration from fans unmatched.

How old was Nadal when he won his first major?

Rafael Nadal, being just 19 years old, made an incredible start at Roland Garros in 2005, winning his first Major championship. His achievement wasn’t a surprise because he had already proven his prowess on clay by winning notable titles in Rome, Barcelona, and Monte Carlo.

Rafael Nadal

The young Spaniard overcame world No. 1 Jesus-Fed in the semifinals, then he faced Mariano Puerta in the championship match. With a valiant effort, the Spaniard prevailed winning 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1, and 7-5 to become the fifth-youngest Major champion in the Open era.

The pressure on Puerta was maintained by Nadal’s powerful serve and ability to avoid breakpoints. Despite Puerta’s resilience in sets one and four, Nadal’s unwavering effort gave him the win. Rafael Nadal survived a set point but ultimately lost the match’s highly contested tiebreak in the opening set. He swiftly recovered, though, and won the following two sets with strong breaks and holds.

Rafael Nadal, the then 19-year-old Spaniard, established himself as a dominant force on clay with that triumph, launching his brilliant career and opening the door for more exceptional achievements in the tennis world.

Where would you consider Rafael Nadal among Tennis’ all-time greats? Let us know your opinions in the comments section.




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