Rafael Nadal had to calm growing enthusiasm over a possible US Open semi-final clash with old rival Roger Federer by warning reporters against making the two appear "boyfriends." Nadal and Federer, two of the greatest players of all time, have met 37 times, including 12 at the Grand Slams, but never in New York. When asked to describe what he admires most about Federer, also a long-time off-court friend, Nadal was keen to cool the "bromance." But as things panned out, the semi-final didn't materialise, as Federer went down to Juan Martin del Potro in a four-set quarter-final clash.
Q: What do you admire most about @rogerfederer as a man on and off the court? ** no. 1 @rafaelnadal: "I don't want to look like I'm going to be his boyfriend." ** #Rafa sending his love but keeping it real during his press conference today. #USOpen #tennis #rafaelnadal #rogerfederer #newyorkcity #instasport #arthurashestadium #pressconference #nyc #instafunny #nadal #tennisplayer
"I don't want to look like I gonna be his boyfriend, no?" said Nadal, causing a packed media conference room to burst into laughter.
"We don't want to talk these kind of things before important match. We have a lot of respect for each other, no? We played a lot of times. I think we did important things for tennis. We appreciate that.
"We always had a good relationship. I think he always has been a great ambassador for tennis and for our sport, with good image, of course, and representing good values.
"One important thing that is a great example for kids, doing unbelievable well and doing it with the right attitude.
"That's something I admire as you can admire -- I think I answered already."