“I’m practising with Rafa [Nadal] across the street, we’re playing a set,” Stefan Kozlov said of what occurred before the match.
“It’s like 3-3, 15-0, Rafa breaks a string, goes to his bag, I just happen to check my phone for whatever reason. Then I have 20 text messages from [officials] and they’re just like ‘get over here!’ So i drop all my stuff, I tell Rafa, he’s got a big smile on his face. You know, he’s super excited for me because he knew I was the number one lucky loser. So we stopped practice, I got over here, had about 30 minutes to get ready and just came out and gave it my all.”
- ‘I wish him only happiness’ offers Rafael Nadal to ‘charismatic’ Juan Martin del Potro | tennishead.net
The words of Nadal come after del Potro played what was likely his final professional match, at the Argentina Open on 8th February, losing to compatriot Federico Delbonis before receiving undying support from the crowd.
“He has been one of the most charismatic players on the tour for a long time,” Nadal told the ATP from Acapulco ahead of his campaign at this week’s Mexican Open.
“I feel very sorry that he was not able to enjoy the career that he deserved because of all the physical injuries and problems that he had over the years. I feel very sorry for him, the only thing that I wish him is happiness and hopefully he can continue with his life in a positive way without suffering too much pain every single day.”
“Incredible performance. Amazing fighter he is,” the 34-year-old said, speaking in Dubai where he has finally started his 2022 season.
“He said it, definitely one of the biggest wins of his life, in the circumstances, coming back after an injury.”
He continued: “I think it was four to five months ago that he was on crutches, and now he’s winning a Slam. I mean, it’s incredible. I got tons of respect for him.”
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