"Rafael Nadal reminds me so much of Steffi Graf" - Serena Williams' ex-coach

Rafael Nadal Steffi Graf
Rafael Nadal (L) and Steffi Graf

Serena Williams' former coach, Rennae Stubbs, likened Rafael Nadal to Steffi Graf, praising both for their dedication to the sport. The Aussie made these remarks following the Spaniard's potential final match at the French Open.

Nadal, who has often said that 2024 might mark his final season on the ATP Tour, faced tough luck at Roland-Garros this year. He was pitted against the fourth seed and one of the top contenders for the title, Alexander Zverev, in his tournament opener.

On May 27, Nadal and Zverev faced off on Court Philippe-Chatrier in a rematch of their encounter in the 2022 edition of the Claycourt Slam, where the German retired mid-match due to an ankle injury. The outcome was different this time as Zverev secured a 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 victory.

In the latest episode of the 'Racquet's Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast,' Stubbs delved into Rafael Nadal's performance at the 2024 French Open, drawing parallels between the Spanish legend Steffi Graf. Both players have won 22 Grand Slams.

"I don't know if you have ever practiced against him but that's the one thing that I always tell people, 'If you wanna see something, go watch Rafael Nadal practice.' He reminds me so much of Steffi [Graf]," Stubbs said (at 13:33).

The former doubles World No. 1 added:

"Steffi was the same way. From first point to last point, it was 100%; it wasn't 95%; it was 100%. That's why they play the way they did. Same way from the first point to the last point and that to me, he just is the greatest competitor I have ever seen."

"Rafael Nadal cannot do a Steffi Graf and just be gone" - Rennae Stubbs

Rafael Nadal pictured at the 2024 French Open
Rafael Nadal pictured at the 2024 French Open

On the 'Racquet's Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast,' Stubbs and former tennis pro Sam Querrey discussed Rafael Nadal's retirement contemplations leading up to the 2024 French Open.

Querrey opined that the Spaniard should compete at the Claycourt Slam regardless of the outcome (at 27:26):

"He can’t just walk away into the darkness now. He owes it to the world to walk out there and like, no one will care if he gets crushed first round, I don’t think."

Stubbs appeared to share Querrey's sentiment, saying that Nadal should not follow in the footsteps of Steffi Graf by abruptly retiring.

"He cannot do a Steffi Graf and just poof, be gone," the Aussie said.

Graf's retirement from tennis in 1999 was indeed shocking. She was World No. 3 at the time, still in top form, having won the French Open and reached the Wimbledon final that year.

The German's last professional match was in the second round of the TIG Classic in San Diego against Amy Frazier, where she retired due to a hamstring injury.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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