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Australian Open: Rafael Nadal dispels doubts in shades of Federer’s 2017 marketing campaign

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 25, 2022 Spain’s Rafael Nadal throughout his quarter last match towards Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Morgan Sette

MELBOURNE—If there have been any lingering doubts remaining over Rafa Nadal’s health and preparations for the Australian Open, the 35-year-old Spaniard dispelled them throughout his win over fellow left-hander Denis Shapovalov.

Solely two wins separate Nadal and a males’s file twenty first Grand Slam title however not many would have wager on him to clinch a second title at Melbourne Park when he arrived in Australia at the beginning of the month.

In spite of everything, Nadal was beginning the season after having missed a piece of the 2021 tour resulting from a lingering foot damage that pressured him to skip Wimbledon, the Olympics and the U.S. Open amongst different occasions and raised doubts if he would ever come back to the courtroom.

If the damage difficulty was not sufficient, Nadal additionally contracted COVID-19 final month and mentioned he suffered terribly during the first four days and will barely transfer.

Regardless of the difficult build-up Nadal is now unbeaten in 9 matches, together with his title run in a Melbourne tune-up. On Tuesday he outlasted an opponent 13 years younger than him in a five-set battle of 4 hours and eight minutes.

Nadal mentioned he was “destroyed” and he welcomed the additional day’s break earlier than he meets Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini of Italy within the last-four stage on Friday.

His group confirmed to Reuters that the Spaniard was severely dehydrated and misplaced virtually 4 kilograms.

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 25, 2022  Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 25, 2022 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in motion throughout his quarter last match towards Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

“I don’t suppose Rafa actually is aware of how effectively ready he’s,” mentioned seven-times main winner and Eurosport tennis skilled Mats Wilander.

“He involves Australia, wins the primary match, he doesn’t actually know the way he’s going to play best-of-five units, doesn’t actually know the way he’s going to really feel bodily.

“However the one factor he has – he is aware of that no matter is in his bag, he’s going to make use of not simply each tactical instrument, however emotionally be invested in each single determination.”

One other Australian Open title for Nadal wouldn’t solely break the three-way tie on the prime of males’s tennis but additionally make him simply the second man after Novak Djokovic to win every of the 4 Grand Slams twice because the sport turned skilled in 1968.

American John McEnroe, a former world primary who received seven main titles, sees shades of Roger Federer — when the Swiss nice returned from a six-month damage lay-off to win the 2017 Australian Open — in Nadal’s marketing campaign.

“Simply while you suppose Rafa has received nothing left he pulls one thing out of his bag of tips,” McEnroe mentioned on Eurosport, including that Nadal got here to Australia early to get match follow and get used to the warmth. “Rafa appears to be like fairly good in my guide.

“It’s superb that he may do what Roger Federer did. Roger was gone for six months 5 years in the past — he didn’t play, he was injured.

“Rafa mentioned he didn’t suppose he may attain this far, he was not taking part in in addition to the opposite gamers. I don’t consider that for a second.”

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