Rafael Nadal took center stage at New Delhi last week as he and Marc Lopez beat Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni in the doubles to clinch the Davis Cup tie. The Spaniard later hailed Leander Paes as one of the best players of the sport as the win gave Spain an impressive 3-0 lead in the Playoffs and ensures them a return to the World Group next year.
Nadal had nothing but applause for Paes for his achievements in the game, saying, “He played a great match and it was amazing tennis tonight. It was a pleasure to play him in his own country. He’s one of the biggest stars in doubles and one of the best players in the history of our sport. It was great fun, pleasure to compete for both Marc and me to compete against a good team in India. The doubles was a tough match and anything could have happened.”
The Spaniard also expressed happiness at Spain returning to the World Group which he stated as “where we belong”.
He added, “But we’re back in the World Group where we should be with players in the top 100 and today we’re back and that’s the most important thing. The team here and even those who aren’t here made a contribution to this.”
Both Paes and Saketh went after the one-half of the Spaniards’ court and Marc improved as the match carried on after getting his serve tested during the first few sessions.
Marc said, “Serve is a tough part for me. I tried to get more of my first serves in as the match progressed. I was serving slowly at times ~ 150-160 kmph at times and then Rafa helped at the net. Unfortunately, the nerves made things difficult for me but overall I feel good about the match.”
Humbled, coming from one of the greatest of all time .. Muchas gracias Rafa! https://t.co/6JQzqS7AlZ— Leander Paes (@Leander) September 19, 2016
Rafael Nadal had previously played in India when he was the runners-up at the Chennai Open in 2008 as well as the IPTL.
Regarding playing in the country, the 14-time Grand Slam winner quipped, “It’s always special to play in a country where you don’t play often. Last year I played in Philippines in Manila and it is a lot of fun to travel and play in many places around the world. It’s lucky that I’ve played many times in India in Chennai, the IPTL and now the Davis Cup. It is great to see the fans and it is great for the players and for the sport.”
However, Rafael Nadal remains tight-lipped about playing in India during the IPTL.