New York: Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal has hailed former US Open winner Lleyton Hewitt`s `fighting spirit` after the Australian veteran`s epic win over sixth seeded Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro in five sets on Friday in the second round at Flushing Meadows.
According to News.com.au, Hewitt`s win over the 2009 champion Del Potro was his first over a top ten player in New York since the night he beat Pete Sampras to win the US Open in 2001.
Stating that he is happy for Hewitt, Nadal said that even though he is five years younger than the 32-year-old Hewitt, it would be impossible to say for certain that he will still be playing when he gets to his early 30s, adding that he admires the fact that Hewitt is still motivated to keep playing and fighting despite having suffered numerous injuries.
Hailing the fact that Hewitt managed to achieve victory against a tough Del Potro, Nadal also said that he could sympathise with Hewitt`s injury travails as he was also sidelined for seven months until February this year as he battled an ongoing knee injury .
The report mentioned that Hewitt was told to retire from the sport but opted to undergo a painful toe surgery where a metal plate was inserted in his foot in an effort to extend his career.
On Saturday, Nadal eased into the US Open last 16 with a 6-4 6-3 6-3 victory over Croatia`s Ivan Dodig, his only concerns being a shortage of towels and a worrying pass by a low-flying jet, the report added.