Nadal's incredible act of sportsmanship for young opponent

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

On his way to winning an 80th career title, Rafael Nadal stunned fans with an amazing act of sportsmanship for his opponent.

Nadal claimed a record-extending 33rd ATP Masters 1000 title with victory over birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Canadian Open final on Monday morning (AEST).

Tsitsipas, who was playing in his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final on his 20th birthday after four consecutive wins over top-10 players in Toronto, threw all he had at Nadal but was ultimately beaten 6-2 7-6 (7-4).

During a thrilling second set in which Tsitsipas threatened to cause a major boilover, Nadal showed once again why he’s one of the classiest players in tennis.

Serving at 3-5 and 30-15, a fan yelled out as Tsitsipas was hitting a first serve.

The ball sailed well wide and left the Greek youngster no other option but to hit a second serve.

His pleas with the chair umpire to give him a first serve back fell on deaf ears, until Nadal came to the rescue.

The World No.1 walked to the net and told the umpire to let Tsitsipas hit his first serve again, earning a huge ovation from the crowd.

Rafael Nadal showed some amazing class for Stefanos Tsitsipas. Image: Tennis TV

The moment actually proved to be a huge turning point, as Tsitsipas held serve before breaking Nadal to make it 5-5.

Tsitsipas then held serve to pull within one game of levelling the contest but Nadal, who had looked out of sorts for a short spell, found his way out of the jam.

Nadal was also extremely classy and humble in his victory speech, praising Tsitsipas for an incredible week in which he became the youngest man to beat four top-10 players at the same tournament.

The win made the 32-year-old Spaniard, who also won the Rogers Cup in 2005, 2008 and 2013, the fourth player in the Open Era to win 80 titles, joining a club that includes Jimmy Connors (109), Roger Federer (98) and Ivan Lendl (94).

with AAP