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Rafael Nadal on his admiration of Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo

Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo (sunglasses) watches Rafael Nadal play at the 2011 Madrid Open. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- You can learn a lot about a person if you ask them who inspires them and why. Hearing Rafael Nadal discuss his admiration for La Liga strikers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, it's hard not to think upon his rivalries with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

"I admire a lot of people outside tennis," Nadal said at the BNP Paribas Open. "Especially I admire the people who really are, you know, helping the others in the right way, taking his time to [help] the people who really needs."

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"If we are talking about sports, Messi, Cristiano are amazing what they are doing. This rivalry is, you know, brings the football to another level in my opinion. Every season they are improving his numbers. That's something amazing."

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When it comes to one of Nadal's favorite sports, golf, he cites Tiger Woods' focus and competitiveness as inspiration.

"He really is focused on what he is doing, and he really believes that he gonna make the right shot in important moment. That's something. His determination in important moments is something difficult to have, and he has [it]. I admire that a lot."

Sound like someone familiar?

"His eyes, mentality when he's playing, when he's competing is, you know, [it's] very, very difficult to say I cannot admire this mentality on a golf course and on the competition, no?"

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