Rafael Nadal described Zinedine Zidane as the "perfect example" of how to act in the public eye after the Frenchman's shock resignation from Real Madrid.
Zidane announced on Thursday that he is to leave his role as head coach at the Santiago Bernabeu, just five days on from guiding his side to a third straight Champions League title with a 3-1 win over Liverpool in Kiev.
The Los Blancos great departs having won nine trophies as boss and Nadal, a noted Real Madrid fan, registered his surprise at Zidane's decision but commended his attitude, especially amid a difficult start to this season.
"Of course, it was a surprise for everybody, no? But at the same time, Zidane is a top person. He's a person that it is tough to accept that he's leaving for different things, different reasons," he told a news conference after beating Guido Pella 6-2 6-1 6-1 in the French Open second round.
"First thing because he's a great coach and he was having a lot of success with our team. Second thing, he's a good person, normal person, humble person.
"He represents, in my opinion, the right values, and he's a perfect example of how somebody with a lot of success has to do the things of every day with being normal, being humble without saying negative things about the players, about the club, about nobody.
"Never, I never heard [negative things], [about] referees, nothing. He was always fine and smiling at the press conferences.
"Even when the things were not going well this year. At the end of the year, he won the Champions League and nothing happens, but during the year has been a very tough year during the year for the team.
"He always has been positive and believing in the players and the club. He deserves to choose what's better for him.
"For my side, I just can say thanks for all the things that he did for Madrid. I hope he will be back. And as a sportsman and person, just thanks for the right examples that he gave to the rest of the people."