HomeTennisRafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova's Practice Session From 2018 Italian Open Goes...

Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova’s Practice Session From 2018 Italian Open Goes Viral, Fans Laud Spaniard For Being a ‘Gentleman’


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Rafael Nadal is gearing up for the Italian Open 2024 and many of his training videos have gone viral on social media. Another video of his which is doing the rounds is from the 2018 edition of the tournament when he agreed to practice with Russian legend Maria Sharapova. Fans not only enjoyed their engaging rally, but also lauded Rafael Nadal for being a true ‘gentleman’.

An Instagram video by Baseline Highlights showed a video where Nadal and Sharapova were seen practicing in Rome on clay. Sharapova matched up to Nadal in every shot and in the end, won the rally as Nadal hit one shot over her head and out of the court.

But this wasn’t the usual Rafael Nadal in practice sessions. Fans believe that Nadal went easy on her because she is a lady and he has too much respect for any female player to go all berserk on them.

“Throwback to when Maria Sharapova stepped onto the practice court with Rafa and hit a few balls,” Baseline Highlights captioned in the post.

That rally seemed to have helped Maria Sharapova. In the Italian Open 2018, she beat the likes of Jelena Ostapenko, Ashleigh Barty and Dominika Cibulkova en route to the semi-final. Maria Sharapova lost to Simona Halep by 6-4, 1-6, 4-6.

Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, had a terrific season. He won his 8th Italian Open title in 2018, beating Alexander Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in the final. Nadal did not have an easy path in the tournament, as he had to overcome Denis Shapovalov in the Round of 16, Fabio Fognini in the quarter-final and Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

Maria Sharapova Is a Big Rafael Nadal Fan

No one compares to Rafael Nadal when it comes to achievements on clay. His 14 French Opens, 12 Barcelona Opens, 11 Monte-Carlo Masters titles, 10 Italian Opens, and 5 Madrid Open titles are just mind-boggling. But Maria Sharapova, with her 2 hard-fought French Opens, 3 Italian Opens, and 1 Madrid Open titles, has done exceptionally well on clay among female players of her generation.

Ahead of the Mallorca Open 2019, Sharapova spoke about Rafael Nadal, just after he won his 12th French Open title.

“He is the ultimate fighter and an amazing example of what you can achieve if you have the will and the passion for what you do. I’ve always admired the way he has fought through all the injuries he’s had and he’s the greatest example of that. The sport is so physical, especially the way he plays, but brings an optimistic perspective on his work that he can come back and be a champion. He is extremely motivated,” Sharapova said in a media interaction, as The Indian Express reported.

Even if not like Nadal, Maria Sharapova has definitely left a legacy as a champion, especially someone who excelled on clay.

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