Despite an unusual day off, there was no rest for World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who was back on court working hard. His hitting partner du jour was 16-year-old US Junior Stefan Kozlov. The 2014 Australian Open junior boys’s finalist describes his experience, in the Miami Herald.
“I came here and tried to pick up a credential and told the woman I’m trying to hit with Rafa,” Kozlov said. “She said, ‘We didn’t get anything about you.’ I gave her my ID because I got my permit.
“I got here at 1:30 and practice was delayed from 3:15 to 3:45 and I didn’t get let in until 3:35. Toni [Nadal’s uncle and coach] had to come out here and get me. I think that’s one of the toughest hits I’ve ever had in my life,” said Kozlov, who admitted he was nervous at the start of their 45-minute hit. “I’ve heard people talking about his ball, but I didn’t realize it would be like that. If it lands near the baseline, I jumped five feet back and had to really spin it short. It was really physical, and I didn’t realize he was going to hit like that before a match.”
Rafa will play the final against Novak Djokovic in Miami on Sunday. Match time and live streaming information can be found here.
All photos are courtesy of Christopher Levy. Follow him on Twitter at @tennis_shots.