Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are, not surprisingly, inspirations for a huge number of next generation stars. After newly-crowned Orange Bowl champion Arthur Fils revealed his admiration for Federer and Nadal, his compatriot and Orange Bowl semifinalist Luca Van Assche has also expressed his respect towards the legendary duo.
Luca Van Assche is a 16-year-old French prodigy currently ranked No. 1749 on the ITF Tour. Van Assche made the last four of the prestigious Orange Bowl tournament, before losing to runner-up Peter Fajta. The teenager couldn’t emulate the achievement of his idol Roger Federer, who lifted the title back in 1998, but he continues to be inspired by the Swiss.
During a conversation with Tennisactu, Luca Van Assche revealed that Roger Federer is the player he looks up to the most. The teenager wants to follow in the footsteps of the Swiss legend, but admitted that he has a tough road ahead.
“My favorite player is Roger Federer,” Van Assche said. “He is a model. I'm not trying to copy him but to work to reach a percentage of his level even if it will be complicated.”
Van Assche also holds Roger Federer's arch-rival Rafael Nadal in very high regard, due to the Spaniard's dedication and perseverance. The Frenchman believes that while Federer and Nadal have contrasting styles, they both serve as role models for youngsters.
“Otherwise, I respect Nadal a lot for all the work he has done to reach this level,” Van Assche added. “Federer, we have the impression that he does everything quietly with talent while Nadal, there is this hard-working side and that's really an inspiration because we see that through his work.”
I watch little videos of Rafael Nadal to deal with the lack of tennis: Luca Van Assche
The lack of tennis has been a major stumbling block for many players during the ongoing pandemic. And it is arguably even worse for youngsters like Luca van Assche, as they have had to go without training during their development period.
The 16-year-old revealed that he has been doing sophrology - a modern technique that helps manage stress - to cope with the pressure of both the tour grind and the pandemic. Van Assche also spends some of his time away from the sport by watching videos of Rafael Nadal and Michael Jordan.
“Before confinement, I was already seeing a sophrologist so as not to get too annoyed on the court, so I continue to do her exercises,” Van Assche said. “Otherwise, I watch little videos of Nadal, Michael Jordan, which make me want to go back to the courts even more."Published 26 Dec 2020, 20:20 IST