July 22, 2024
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal’s ‘intensity’ helped to inspire Sonay Kartal and her dreamy run at Wimbledon 2024, according to tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

Mouratoglou, who spent a decade coaching the legendary Serena Williams from 2012 to 2022, is an expert on women’s tennis has become a huge fan of Britain’s Kartal after watching her in action against American second-seed Coco Gauff.

Kartal, world No.298, sensationally beat Clara Burel at Wimbledon this year to become Britain’s first female qualifier to reach the third round since 1997, before she impressed in the first set of her defeat to a player ranked 296 places higher.

The 22-year-old was largely unknown heading into this year’s Championships but that all changed with three superb wins in qualifying before she remarkably dumped out 29th-seed Sorana Cirstea and then eliminated world No.45 Burel.

Kartal credits her rapid rise in tennis to a significant change in her physicality and Mouratoglou believes the Brit was inspired by the ‘intensity’ of male icon Nadal, which caused her to bulk-up in training and put herself on an upwards trajectory.

Quizzed about Kartal’s 6-4 6-0 defeat to US Open champion Gauff, Mouratoglou told Metro.co.uk: ‘I didn’t see the second set. It’s probably better I didn’t see it… I am talking about the score! But I saw the first set.

‘She broke back, which was a huge effort. When you’re a break down against someone like Coco in a match like that, which she hasn’t played very often, I think she handled it really well emotionally.

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