The San Antonio Spurs center is a good friend of Nadal's and has attended more than one of his finals in Paris including Sunday's three-set win over Stan Wawrinka that gave him a historic 10th French Open trophy.
Nadal now has 15 major titles, separating himself from his tie with Pete Sampras for second-most in tennis history.
After the heartbreak of losing the Australian Open final to Roger Federer earlier in the year, emotion overcame Nadal after the match, but he was ruthless for its entirety.
Rafael Nadal wins a record 10th French Open title.
Rafael Nadal once again justified his "King of Clay" tag by bagging an incredible tenth French Open title on Sunday at the expense of Stan Wawrinka who had no answer to the Spaniard's thumping groundstrokes and overall play. "The nerves, the adrenaline, I feel on the court are impossible to compare to another feeling". Nadal improved to 79-2 lifetime at Roland Garros and lifted the trophy for the first time since 2014 after disposing of Wawrinka in just two hours and five minutes.
Nadal forced Wawrinka into another forehand error to break for 2-0 in the second set before the Swiss halted a run of seven games lost with a hold for 1-3. For sure this score wasn't good, the match wasn't good, but at the end of the day there's a lot of positives to take from the last few weeks.' If you look at Roland Garros over the last two weeks, the tennis you have played, including beating the World's No. He's the best player on the circuit this year and has chances there.
After his success at Roland Garros, Nadal climbed to second in the rankings, cutting the gap on Andy Murray to just 2605 points.
"He's playing his best level on clay".
French Open champion Rafael Nadal found it "impossible to describe" his feelings after claiming an unprecedented 10th title at the same major.
Tommy Haas I don't think many can put it into words and I don't think many understand this accomplishment, truly incredibly. His long-time coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, announced that he will stop coaching his nephew on a fulltime basis, leaving any to wonder what will happen to the famously charmed career of Nadal. Nadal said when he first won the title in 2005 he would not have imagined he would still be playing in 2017, let alone winning, and said 10 titles had a special ring to it.
With three major titles under his belt, Wawrinka is known for his aggressive backhand shots and has a ideal 3-0 record in Grand Slam finals.
"But that's clearly his best he will ever play".
Nadal was forced to pull out of last year's French Open - the tournament he cherishes most - after potential career-threatening damage to his left wrist tendons. "Thank you for everything".