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“I have admired Rafael Nadal since I started playing tennis” Sebastian Korda speaks about competing alongside childhood idol Nadal

American youngster Sebastian Korda talks about his admiration for Rafael Nadal and his coaching team after his practice session with the Spaniard at the Washington Open 2021.

Sebastian Korda and Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is back in America for the first time since his 2019 US Open victory and is looking to get practice ahead of the 2021 US Open which is set to begin from 30th August. The Spaniard is currently playing at the ATP-500 Washington Open 2021 where he is making his tournament debut.

Nadal who was absent from the tour since his semi-final defeat at the 2021 French Open is looking to get back in the best of form before he goes to the final Grand Slam of the season. Nadal has been in Washington for a while and despite having his practice sessions he was also spotted roaming in Washington.

In one of his practice sessions, Nadal paired up with American youngster Sebastian Korda who has been a lifelong fan of the Spaniard so much so that the young American even named his pet cat ‘Rafa’ in honour of the 20-time Grand Slam champion. Talking about the time spent with Rafa during their practice session, Korda was impressed by him and his coaching team as well.

The training with him was great. I have admired him since I started playing tennis. He was so nice, especially in the locker room. He always says hello. His team is also great to me,” said Sebastian speaking about Nadal and his team having got a first-hand experience of them at their combined practice session.

Sebastian Korda and Rafael Nadal both are in the Round of 16 of the Washington Open

Rafael Nadal and Sebastian Korda

Korda has made it to the Round of 16 along with Rafa as both are looking for their first Hardcourt title of the year. Korda came close to a title at the 2021 Delray Beach Open but lost in the finals and had to wait till the last week of May for his maiden ATP title winning the 2021 Parma Open.

At the Washington Open, Nadal had a bye in the first round given his seeding and played American Jack Sock in the 2nd round whom he defeated in a 3rd-set tiebreaker in his comeback match. Nadal will play South African Lloyd Harris in the Round of 16.

Korda who has been handed the 12th seed at the tournament also had a bye in the first round and then went on to defeat Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the 2nd round to set up a clash with another exciting youngster, Italy’s Jannik Sinner.

Also Read: “Nobody does it better” Rafael Nadal adds Jessica Pegula and Jennifer Brady to his list of fans after an outstanding performance at the Washington Open 2021