NEW YORK, BALIPOST.com – Rafael Nadal called Tiger Woods an “amazing inspiration” as the Spaniard had the golf superstar roaring with approval during a majestic US Open performance on Monday.
The 18-time Grand Slam champion advanced to the quarter-final of a major for the 40th time in his glittering career with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Croatia’s Marin Cilic.
But it was the reaction of Woods, a winner of 15 golf majors, to an assortment of sensational Nadal winners during a crucial section of the match that caught the eye at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
A blistering cross-court backhand passing winner off a Cilic overhead elicited a fired-up fist-pump from Woods, who was equally appreciate of an outrageous round-the-netpost forehand that brought up match point.
“It means a lot to me to have him supporting. As I said, he’s an amazing inspiration, all the things that he accomplish in the sport, the way that he managed to keep fighting that hard,” Nadal said.
“Watching him on the golf course, has been an example, a real inspiration for me. (To) have him supporting and be able to be in touch with him very often for me is something that I am super happy and I hope one day we can play golf and tennis together.”
Nadal, who like Woods has endured more than his fair share of injury nightmares, looked healthy and hungry at Flushing Meadows, where he is chasing a fourth US Open title after 2010, 2013 and 2017.
“The emotions I have when I play here are impossible to describe. I love the sport and feel very lucky to still be playing tennis here. Eight to 10 years ago, I didn’t think that would happen as my body was suffering badly,” Nadal said. (AFP)