Rafael Nadal paid tribute to “hard-working” Kobe Bryant in his post-match interview at the 2020 Australian Open:
What can I say? I wake up this morning with this terrible news. Super sad. He has been one of the greatest sportsmen in history. He deserves a round of big applause.
I didn’t spend time with him, but I met him. I have a very good friend, Pau Gasol (formerly of the LA Lakers), that was playing with him for a long time.
He always told me about his spirit of overcoming and hard work. He always wanted more, he always wanted to increase his level. He was an inspiration for the world of sport and a lot of kids. It is one of those days you want to forget, but Kobe Bryant will be in our hearts and our minds for the rest of our lives.