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

Tanmay Roy

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

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.

Post Edited By:Dhruv Rupani

About the author

Tanmay Roy

Tanmay Roy


Tanmay Roy is a Tennis Journalist at The SportsRush, whose lifelong passion and zeal for the sport landed him this position. A writer with over 1000 articles under him, Tanmay fell in love with tennis in 2005 when Roger Federer defeated Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final after a stunning three sets. Tanmay followed the likes of the Big Three - Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal from the mid-noughties to now. His interest was stronger than ever after the wonderful 2009 Wimbledon Final which saw Roger Federer win after a see-saw 5-set match. His favorite female tennis player is Serena Williams and Monica Seles. Tanmay's favorite match-up to date is Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick in the 2000s. If possible, the John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut first round match at the 2010 Wimbledon is the only match Tanmay would love to watch Live by going back in time. Of late, he is a huge fan of Jannik Sinner and believes the youngster has the potential to break every record.

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