“Heart of the True Athlete”: Daria Kasatkina Expresses Her Admiration for Rafael Nadal

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Being one of the most charismatic players of the tour, Daria Kasatkina has won two WTA singles titles in her career. Despite a disappointing 2020 season, Kasatkina’s best result was reaching the semifinal of the Lyon Open. The Russian is a huge fan of the 20-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal, and an avid follower of the Barcelona football team.

When Nadal won the Roland Garros title for a record 13th time this year, Kasatkina had tears in her eyes watching Nadal clinch the historic feat. Recently, during an interview with MARCA, the host questioned Kasatkina on what made her teary-eyed after Nadal’s victory.

Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his group stage match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

The 2018 Wimbledon quarterfinalist talked about drawing inspiration from Nadal, who still has the same hunger for winning the biggest titles despite achieving almost everything in his illustrious career.

“When you see a 34-year-old, who has won everything and is still crying with victory, it is really inspiring, to see that he is still hungry from the first day,” said Kasatkina.

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I choose Rafael Nadal: Kasatkina

Asked about whether she knows Nadal in person, Kasatkina replied that she feels as if she has known Nadal for a long time despite minimal interaction. Having followed Nadal since the age of eight, Kasatkina expressed her fondness for the Spaniard’s bulging muscles.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his semi-final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

The 23-year-old tennis star hailed Nadal as the hallmark of a true athlete and contended she would love to emulate the 2008 Wimbledon champion.

“Just hello and goodbye. The thing is, I feel like I’ve known him for a long time because I’ve followed him since I was an eight-year-old girl, when I was watching his first Roland Garros final in the tank top, those long pants and he already had those muscles. I know all your results. If I have to choose an example to follow, I choose Rafa. He has the heart of the true athlete because he always gives everything.” remarked Kasatkina.

With the 2021 Australian Open scheduled to begin in February, Nadal has confirmed his participation and will aim to win a second trophy at the Australian Open. World No,2 has lost in all the last four finals appearances at Melbourne Park.

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