In a recent video, several players, including Rafael Nadal, were asked by the ATP to name who they enjoyed watching growing up. While a few of them came up with some offbeat picks, a good proportion picked Roger Federer as the player they enjoyed watching the most.
The segment began with Matteo Berrettini, Alexander Zverev, Denis Shapovalov and Kei Nishikori, all of whom disclosed that Federer was their favorite player to watch growing up.
"Roger Federer. He was my hero. I always wanted to match my game to his," Shapovalov said.
"How he played the game, it looked so easy. He was the best player to watch," Zverev declared.
Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray also picked Federer, Guillermo Coria and fellow countryman Tim Henman as the few top players he followed when he was a kid.
But, by Murray's own admission, Andre Agassi was always his idol growing up.
"When I was very young Agassi was the guy I loved. He was different, I liked his personality. He was the one I first enjoyed watching and wanted to copy," Murray said.
Alex de Minaur, meanwhile, came up with some interesting picks, suggesting that he enjoyed watching compatriot Lleyton Hewitt and Russia's Nikolay Davydenko in his early years.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, who made the Wimbledon quarterfinals this month, also had some interesting choices; the Canadian disclosed that he liked watching Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils as they were among the few players of color on the tour when he was growing up.
13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal was also asked which player he enjoyed watching in his early years. Nadal was quick to reply that his favorite was none other than his current coach Carlos Moya.
It is pertinent to note that Nadal faced Moya eight times on the tour, winning on six occasions.
Andrey Rublev says he idolized Rafael Nadal after Marat Safin retired
During the segment, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev also revealed which players they idolized growing up. While both Medvedev and Rublev asserted that they loved watching their fellow countryman Marat Safin play, Rublev did concede that he viewed Rafael Nadal as his idol once Safin retired in 2009.
Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka, on the other hand, remarked that their favorite was "Pistol" Pete Sampras, who won 14 Grand Slams in his career. Perhaps the two named Sampras since they possess a powerful single-handed backhand, not unlike the American's.
Wawrinka also said he enjoyed watching Pat Rafter and Alex Corretja.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, on the other hand, disclosed that he idolized former World No. 112 Konstantinos Economidis as a child. The Roland Garros runner-up added that it was Economidis who put Greece on the tennis map.
"He was the only Greek tennis player playing at such a high level, so I really looked up to him. That's why I wanted to step it up and really have an impact in Greek tennis," Tsitsipas said.