Rafael Nadal hopes he and “amazing inspiration” Tiger Woods will be able to play golf and tennis together after getting the 15-time major champion out of his seat and fist pumping during a US Open fourth-round win over Marin Cilic.
Nadal progressed to the quarter-finals with a four-set victory over Cilic at Flushing Meadows on Monday, and delighted the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd with a series of sublime shots in the third and fourth sets.
It was the penultimate point of the match, though, that had Woods celebrating as if he had added to his major tally as Nadal incredibly bent a forehand around the net post to bring up two match points.
The Spaniard spoke about Woods during his on-court interview and later in the post-match media conference he divulged further on his affection for the American, who capped a remarkable comeback from injury to win the Masters in April.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) September 3, 2019
Asked if he saw some of Woods’ reactions during the match, Nadal replied: “No, I didn’t. I was playing tennis. But good, no? It means a lot to me to have him supporting.
“He’s an amazing inspiration, all the things that he [has] accomplished in the sport, the way that he managed to keep fighting that hard.
“[He has] always been an example on the golf course, a real inspiration for me.
“[To] have him supporting and [to] be able to be in touch with him very often is something that I am super happy [for] and I hope one day we can play golf and tennis together.”
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 3, 2019
Nadal will face Diego Schwartzman in the last eight after the 20th seed came from a set down to eliminate sixth seed Alexander Zverev, a result that came as no surprise to the 18-time grand slam champion.
“He is one of the most talented players on our Tour. He has everything, amazing control, amazing speed,” Nadal said of Schwartzman. “He has the ability to read very well your shots and to understand very well the game. [It] is not a surprise he is there.
“I know people think that Zverev was favourite before that match. Honestly for me, today, Schwartzman was favourite.
“Schwartzman, I saw him play a couple of matches during this tournament, he was playing great. Sascha played two matches, two or three matches close. Physical issues always I think. The other arrived fresh and playing amazing.
“Sascha fought hard as always. He is going to be a grand slam champion soon I think.
“But today Diego played unbelievable. I need to play my best in the next round to have the chance to be in the semi-finals.”