NEW YORK -- Tennis players around the world have learned plenty from Rafael Nadal.

On Tuesday, Nadal learned something from Conner Stroud.

Stroud, a 12-year-old from Spindale, N.C., was born without hips, ankles, femurs or knees. Encouraged by parents who wouldn't allow their son's disability to hold him back, Stroud has been playing against able-bodied kids in local tennis tournaments, winning a couple and inspiring people young and old.

Stroud visited the U.S. Open and spent some time with Nadal, who signed autographs and chatted with the youngster outside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"The most important thing is that he's happy," Nadal said. "He's able to keep practicing the sport. He's playing tennis. That's great for him, for the family. That's a great example that you can be happy even if life doesn't give you everything. It's a big example for me and should be a big example for a lot of people."

Stroud runs on his stubs – what's left of his legs due to a birth defect called Bilateral Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD). He was born with feet, but his parents consulted with doctors, who told them Conner would be able to move around more easily if he had all but the heels amputated.

"The key is just to have a positive attitude, try to have fun and not worry about getting it in every time or missing a shot," Stroud said. "I love the game because you're on your own. You get to hit and play matches and be competitive against people and just have fun."

The bottoms of Stroud's legs are fitted with boots or "stubbies," and Stroud moves around on them quite well, as a few YouTube videos have illustrated, including one of him hitting with Andy Roddick.

The youngster met with Nadal in a shady spot in the players' garden outside the locker room at the main stadium. He said he was drawn to the Spanish star for a number of reasons.

"He's got a great attitude on the court," Stroud said. "I like his Western grip, too. I use the Western grip. Plus, he looks like a very nice person."

Growing up, Stroud hung around the courts where his dad teaches. His mom, Rita, said, "It was either just sit there or start playing."

"We have two older children," she said. "You don't want to treat any of your children differently. Sometimes, it's hard, but you expect the same out of them. You do what you can do. You focus on the positive. You make the most of it. We all have issues. Some are bigger than others. Most of them you can't see. So you just do the best you can with what you've got."

After taking time to work out his swing and figure out the angles he had to hit the ball to clear the net from his low vantage point, Stroud started enjoying some success.

He won his first tournament, in the 8-and-under category, playing doubles. Later, he addded a singles title. The trophies?

"In my room," he said. "And I think we have one in the living room."

Stroud can still win a match or two, but it has become easier for opponents to hit away from him. This summer, he is taking lessons playing in a wheelchair and he has signed up for his first wheelchair tournament later this year.

Perhaps there's a spot for him someday in the U.S. Open wheelchair division.

"As much determination as he has, it wouldn't surprise me," his mother said. "Nothing would."

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Victoria Azarenka

    Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, hits a return during her match against Dinah Pfizenmaier, of Germany, in the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Victoria Azarenka

    Dinah Pfizenmaier, of Germany, eyes the ball as she prepares to serve against Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Victoria Azarenka

    Belarus's Victoria Azarenka reacts after breaking the serve of Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Dinah Pfizenmaier

    Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier wipes her face during a match against Belarus's Victoria Azarenka in the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Dinah Pfizenmaier

    Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier reacts during a match against Belarus's Victoria Azarenka in the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Dinah Pfizenmaier

    Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier returns a shot to Belarus's Victoria Azarenka during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Victoria Azarenka

    Belarus's Victoria Azarenka returns a shot to Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Victoria Azarenka

    Belarus's Victoria Azarenka returns a shot to Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Victoria Azarenka

    Belarus's Victoria Azarenka chases down a shot by Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Victoria Azarenka

    Belarus's Victoria Azarenka returns a shot to Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Victoria Azarenka

    Belarus's Victoria Azarenka returns a shot to Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Victoria Azarenka

    Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, hits a returns during her match against Dinah Pfizenmaier, of Germany, during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Samantha Stosur

    Samantha Stosur, of Australia, serves to Victoria Duval, of the United States, in the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. Duval won 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Novak Djokovic

    In this image taken with a slow shutter speed, Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns a shot to Ricardas Berankis, of Lithuania, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Novak Djokovic

    In this image taken with a slow shutter speed, Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns a shot to Ricardas Berankis, of Lithuania, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Svetlana Kuznetsova

    Svetlana Kuznetsova, of Russia, serves against Mallory Burdettte, of the United States, during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Novak Djokovic

    Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, waves to fans after defeating Ricardas Berankis, of Lithuania, in a first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Alize Cornet

    Alize Cornet of France returns a shot against Portugal's Maria Joao Koehler during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Samantha Stosur

    Samantha Stosur of Australia returns a shot against Victoria Duval during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • A ball boy holds up two balls for service a first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Victoria Duval

    Victoria Duval serves against Samantha Stosur of Australia during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Julia Glushko

    Julia Glushko of Israel prepares to serve against Nadia Petrova of Russia during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Victoria Duval

    Victoria Duval returns a shot against Samantha Stosur of Australia during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Svetlana Kuznetsova

    Svetlana Kuznetsova, of Russia, follow through with a serve against Mallory Burdettte, of the United States, during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Svetlana Kuznetsova

    Svetlana Kuznetsova, of Russia, follow through with a serve against Mallory Burdettte, of the United States, during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Victoria Duval

    Victoria Duval, of the United States, returns against Samantha Stosur, of Australia, in the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. Duval won 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Victoria Duval

    Victoria Duval, of the United States, returns against Samantha Stosur, of Australia, in the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. Duval won 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Sam Querrey

    Sam Querrey signs autographs for fans during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Fans wait for autographs during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • John Isner

    John Isner signs autographs for fans after beating Filippo Volandri, of Italy, during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

  • New York Police Department officers stand watch outside the Billie Jean King Tennis Center during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Milos Raonic

    Milos Raonic, of Canada, signs autographs for fans during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Tomas Berdych

    Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic returns a shot to Paolo Lorenzi, of Italy, during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

  • Tomas Berdych

    Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic serves against Paolo Lorenzi, of Italy, during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

  • Novak Djokovic

    Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns a shot to Ricardas Berankis, of Lithuania, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Novak Djokovic

    Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns a shot to Ricardas Berankis, of Lithuania, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • TEN-US-OPEN-DJOKOVIC-BERANKIS

    Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic plays a point against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis during their 2013 US Open men's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN-US-OPEN-DJOKOVIC-BERANKIS

    Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic (R) plays against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis (L) during their 2013 US Open men's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN - US OPEN-DUVAL-STOSUR

    Samantha Stosur of Australia leaves the court after losing to Victoria Duval of the US in their 2013 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27 , 2013. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN - US OPEN-DUVAL-STOSUR

    Victoria Duval (L) of the US greets Samantha Stosur (R) of Australia following Duval's victory in their 2013 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27 , 2013. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN - US OPEN-DUVAL-STOSUR

    Victoria Duval of the US returns against Samantha Stosur of Australia during their 2013 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27 , 2013. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN - US OPEN-DUVAL-STOSUR

    Victoria Duval of the US returns against Samantha Stosur of Australia during their 2013 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27 , 2013. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN - US OPEN-DUVAL-STOSUR

    Victoria Duval of the US celebrates after defeating Samantha Stosur of Australia during their 2013 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27 , 2013. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN - US OPEN-DUVAL-STOSUR

    Victoria Duval of the US celebrates after defeating Samantha Stosur of Australia during their 2013 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27 , 2013. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN - US OPEN-DUVAL-STOSUR

    Victoria Duval of the US celebrates after defeating Samantha Stosur of Australia during their 2013 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27 , 2013. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN - US OPEN-DUVAL-STOSUR

    Victoria Duval of the US celebrates after defeating Samantha Stosur of Australia during their 2013 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27 , 2013. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN-US-OPEN-DJOKOVIC-BERANKIS

    Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic changes his polo shirt against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis during their 2013 US Open men's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN-US-OPEN-DJOKOVIC-BERANKIS

    Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis plays a point against Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic during their 2013 US Open men's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN-US-OPEN-DJOKOVIC-BERANKIS

    Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis plays a point against Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic during their 2013 US Open men's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TEN-US-OPEN-DJOKOVIC-BERANKIS

    Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic plays a point against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis during their 2013 US Open men's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 27, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)