WATCH| Maria Sharapova finally realizes her dream of playing Rafael Nadal!

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“Nervous” Maria Sharapova calls Rafael Nadal GOAT after practicing with him in Rome

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SportsCafe Desk

05/16/2018

Maria Sharapova was delighted after plucking up the courage to ask Rafael Nadal to practice with her for some minutes and called the latter the GOAT. The two former Italian Open Champions hit balls together on the red clay of the Foro Italico where they have won a combined ten titles.

Sharapova had shown the glimpses of her former self in the last year after her return to the court post testing positive for Meldonium. But her journey to get back to her dominant self was again stopped after a loss against Kiki Bertens in the Madrid Open quarter-finals and it seemed like she needed some time and practice to get back to her best and what better than exchanging few rallies with one of the greatest sportsmen of all-time, Rafael Nadal. The two former world No.1s hit balls together for some time and Sharapova’s elation was understandable. 

"I saw he was practising on the court right before me. And I said to my team 'wouldn't it be amazing if I just came up to Rafa and said 'would you hit a couple balls with me?” Sharapova explained after the practice. 

"And they're like, yeah, what's wrong with that? And I was like, a lot of things. There's a lot of things wrong with just coming up to Rafa. They're like, no, you should. It's not like you're asking him to go on a date. And so I did. He probably thought I was really weird. I think he still thinks I'm really weird."

After finishing the practice, the Russian immediately put up a video on her Twitter handle with the caption, "Two minutes on court with the GOAT @RafaelNadal #BucketList Was so nervous."

Coming into the match, the Russian star toiled hard for a period of two and a half hours to get the better of Australian Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in their first-round game and will now meet Slovak Dominika Cibulkova in a bid to progress in the tournament that she won three times in 2011, 2012, and 2015.

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