Chilean tennis star Alejandro Tabilo said he «always wanted to be like Rafael Nadal» and getting the chance to play against his idol was a dream come true. On Friday, Nadal defeated Tabilo 7-6(6) 6-3 in an exhibition match in Santiago.
Tabilo, 25, failed to beat Nadal but playing against his idol – in front of his home crowd – in his country’s capital, was something he will surely never forget. «He has been my idol since I was a child.
I always wanted to be like him, I grew up watching him play, I dressed like him, I won tournaments and I bit the trophy like him. Since I was a child, I wanted to play with him, follow in his footsteps,» Tabilo said of Nadal, quoted in We Love Tennis France.
Tabilo could not hide his happiness after being selected to play against Nadal
When Nadal decided to tour Latin America, Tabilo was selected to be his opponent in Chile. After Tabilo was informed that he would be facing Nadal, he admitted to being incredulous.
«For me it’s incredible. Since I was little I’ve always tried to do everything like [Rafael] Nadal; He is my idol and playing with him in Chile is a dream, it will be unforgettable. So to have this opportunity to play an exhibition here with him makes me very happy.
When I was first named to compete against Nadal, I didn’t think much of it. It took me a while to react and now, a week ago, when they confirmed it to me, I couldn’t believe it. Guille (Gómez) called me on the phone and he was happy.
My eyes widened with happiness,» Tabilo said after being named Nadal’s rival in Chile. It remains to be seen if Tabilo will get a chance to also play Nadal at the main level.