Maxime Cressy, 24, showed his class after losing his maiden ATP final as he congratulated Rafael Nadal on winning the Melbourne Summer Set.
Cressy, who made the Melbourne final as a qualifier, competed well against Nadal but the former world No. 1 escaped with a 7-6 (6) 6-3 win.
“Congrats to Rafa for an incredible performance today. I know it’s not easy playing a serve-and-volleyer these days, especially now that they’re gone, but it’s been an incredible honor to play against you and I’m super thrilled for you,” Cressy said after the final, as revealed by Reem Abulleil.
Nadal encouraged Cressy to keep working hard
Cressy was pressured by Nadal early on but he saved three break points in the opening game of the match.
Nadal had two more break points in the seventh game but Cressy saved to eventually force a tie-break.
After saving five break points during the first set, Cressy had a set point at 6-5 in the tie-break.
Unfortunately for Cressy, Nadal saved the set point and then also won the next two points to win a tight opener.
After losing the first set, Cressy made a positive start to the second set as he claimed the first break of the match in the third game.
However, Cressy’s lead was short-lived as Nadal claimed breaks in the fourth and eighth game to overturn the deficit and book a straight-set win.
Cressy is becoming known for his serve-and-volley style.
“I’m sure your style will prevail and I really believe that it’s something new, again, that you bring to the game, so it’s great to see again players like you,” Nadal told Cressy.
Nadal has played five finals at the Australian Open throughout his career.
“This court has always been very, very special for me,” Nadal said. “The Rod Laver Arena is very, very special for everyone and it is more special because of you guys. You guys are a great crowd and I can’t thank you enough.”