Athletes ranging from former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson to golfer Greg Norman to former NBA all star Steve Nash praise Rafael Nadal as sport’s ultimate fighter.
So which sport star fires Nadal’s fighting spirit?
Watch: Nadal Spins and Wins
A champion who plays small ball.
Tennis’ raging bull is inspired by a golfing Tiger.
Avid golfer Nadal cites fellow Nike endorser Tiger Woods as the athlete who most moves him.
In the aftermath of his 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, demolition of Aussie No. 1 Alex de Minaur in the Australian Open third round, Nadal said watching Woods will keep him up all night.
“Is not new that Tiger is one of the sportsmen that I admire the most,” Nadal told the media in Melbourne. “I stay until 2 in the evening if he’s playing always at home. I follow him every tournament that he plays. I love his attitude on the course.
“In some way, yes, he’s an inspiration. After all the things that happened to him, he’s able to fight back, he’s able to win again, is able to put him in a position that he can win majors again. That’s fantastic I think for the sport. That’s a great history.”
The 17-time Grand Slam champion calls 14-time major titlist Tiger one of the best athletes he’s ever seen.
“Like a sportsman, he’s one of the best that I ever seen in my life, and in a sport that I like a lot,” Nadal said. “So I just feel very lucky that I am having the chance to keep see him competing that well.”
The king of clay knows how to navigate the grass. Nadal, who plays golf right-handed, hosted the inaugural Rafa Nadal Golf Challenge near his home in Manacor last year.
The world No. 2 believes tennis can gain from golf’s example. Nadal urges tennis to emulate golf’s example hiring more former champions to remain in the sport as tournament directors and administrators.