Rafael Nadal recently won his 13th Roland Garros title and 20th Major overall, beating World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final. Naturally, the historic achievement has garnered plenty of attention in the tennis community; it is a well-known fact that many of the young players on tour right now look up to the Spaniard.
Andrey Rublev called Rafael Nadal's victory in Paris one of the greatest feats in the history of sport and also hailed the 34-year-old as the 'best athlete in history'. Iga Swiatek, the teenage phenom who won the women's singles title in Paris, couldn't stop gushing about Nadal's 'dedication and style'.
Now, another youngster - Daria Kasatkina - has also weighed in on Rafael Nadal's Roland Garros win.
The Russian has said several times in the past that it was Nadal who inspired her to start playing tennis. Kasatkina has followed Nadal's French Open runs over the last 15 years, and when the Spaniard came through to win his 13th title last week she was overcome with emotion.
"I was crying with him while he was staying with the cup. The tears were falling from his eyes, it was very sweet," Kasatkina said.
Rafael Nadal was quite emotional during the trophy presentation ceremony as he held the Coupe des Mousquetaires in his arms. The effort he put in to overcome the adverse conditions - including the cold weather, the new balls and the seemingly invincible Novak Djokovic - left him spent at the end of it all. And that showed in his expressions and body language in the aftermath of the match.
Kasatkina was among the millions around the world who noticed how much the win meant to Rafael Nadal. And being a lifelong fan of the Spaniard, she could completely understand it too.
It's like Rafael Nadal is winning 13 Roland Garros, and it still means so much to him: Daria Kasatkina
Kasaktina noted that Rafael Nadal, despite having achieved so much in his career already, was still overwhelmed by his win against Djokovic. To her, this sentiment perfectly embodied the World No. 2's unbridled love for tennis.
"It's like he's winning 13 Roland Garros, 20 Grand Slams, and it still means so much to him and this is the real love for the sport, I think," Kasatkina remarked.
Rafael Nadal is now level with Roger Federer for most Majors won in men's tennis history. In terms of Roland Garros wins alone though, he is far ahead of everyone else; no other player has even won 10 titles at a single Slam, let alone 13.
Daria Kasatkina, meanwhile, is currently playing at the Ostrava Open in the Czech Republic. She beat Elena Rybakina in the first round on Tuesday, and on Thursday will face Aryna Sabalenka for a place in the quarterfinals.Published 21 Oct 2020, 14:00 IST