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Rafael Nadal praised Serena Williams' passion for tennis after his first-round win at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

Rafa On Serena: 'It's Great She's Trying To Come Back'

Spaniard praises Serena after she complimented him over the weekend

WTA legend Serena Williams spoke ahead of Wimbledon about how much of a fan she is of Rafael Nadal. On Tuesday, the Spaniard returned serve following his first-round win on Centre Court against Francisco Cerundolo.

“First of all, thanks for the words from Serena. I read [them]. It's great to hear these beautiful things from probably one of the biggest female athletes in the history of the sport in general,” Nadal said. “And it’s great that she's trying to come back. The only thing that shows is passion and love for the game. After all the things that she achieved, and long period of time being injured, it’s so difficult to try to come back.”

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Nadal has shown similar passion in overcoming his longterm foot injury as well as a stress fracture in his ribs earlier this year. Williams is competing in singles for the first time since Wimbledon last year.

“Just [to] be here shows that she has a lot of love for her work and for this game,” Nadal said. “I think that's a great example.”

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Although it is no surprise that the all-time greats have a high level of respect for each other, fans might not know that Williams named her dog after Nadal, similar to the way Sebastian Korda named his cat after the Spaniard.

“Obviously I'm always rooting for Rafa,&rdquo. Williams said. “He's been really inspiring in everything that he's done this year. And he has a lot more to do."

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