Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro played 17 matches on the ATP Tour, with the Spaniard scoring 11 wins. Rafa and Juan Martin fought on the notable stage almost every time, although they only met once in the ATP Finals.
The great players will not have a chance to extend their rivalry, since the Argentine retired on Tuesday night at his home, Buenos Aires. His last meeting was at the 2018 US Open, when Nadal withdrew in the semi-finals with a knee injury after trailing 7-6, 6-2.
In the previous rounds, the Spaniard spent more than 12 hours on the court against Karen Khachanov, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Dominic Thiem, and could not withstand another effort against the Argentine. In his sixth and final Major semifinal, del Potro advanced to his second Major title clash, nine years after contesting his first, also in New York.
Thus, Nadal was unable to defend his US Open crown, suffering the fourth loss of the season and the second after a retirement! Nothing could separate two great rivals in the first set, as they both broke twice and scored 39 points.
It was a high-quality game of tennis, with more winners than unforced errors and plenty of exciting exchanges and engaging shots. Juan Martín managed to defend his backhand, just like in the first set 12 months ago, and was twice a front break.
Nadal is returning to the tennis court very soon
In a recent interview at Cantabria Labs, Rafael Nadal talked about his views on tennis, calling it a “mentally aggressive sport” that requires a lot of focus. “I achieve that state of concentration by doing all the rituals I do.
I don’t know if it’s something positive or negative, but it works for me. I have some rituals that help me feel focused on what I’m doing. It’s the way to differentiate when I’m competing from the rest of my life,” added the World No.
5. In the same interview, Nadal talked about what failure means to him. The Spaniard said he doesn’t judge failure based on results but rather on the right attitude and preparation. “For me, the only failure is not trying.
If I am going to play the Australian Open and come back after losing in the first round, but I have made an effort and I have the right attitude during the preparation week is not a failure,” concluded the 21-time Grand Slam champion.
Rafael Nadal has a number of on-court rituals. However, till the time the Spaniard is ruling the court, these rituals don’t seem to bother the player a lot.