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‘Opponents are frightened of Rafael Nadal’, says former star

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The twenty-first season as a professional started as best he could for Rafael Nadal, who after last year’s long stop that forced him to skip Wimbledon, Olympics, US Open and Nitto ATP Finals is back to the beat of a beating drum.

The number twenty-one was evidently written in the fate of the Spaniard, author of an unprecedented feat in Australia. Coming from a tiring injury to be disposed of and with only one tournament – won, among other things – played at the beginning of January (ATP 250 in Melbourne), the Majorcan managed to win the 2022 edition of the Australian Open, which earned him the Slam number 21 victory.

An incredible triumph for the 35-year-old from Manacor, who despite being a big player was among the least prized for the final success. Nadal who, with the victory over Daniil Medvedev today the new number 1 in the world, has beaten his eternal rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the number of Majors in his career.

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To crown an extraordinary start to the season came the conquest of the ATP 500 in Acapulco, won by overtaking the British Cameron Norrie in the last act of the tournament. Before every success, however, there are more important things whose value cannot be exchanged for anything in the world such as the love of the family and of anyone who works with him day by day in order to make him the champion he is.

Because Rafael Nadal is above all a man of sound principles, who on the pitch knows how to transform himself into an authentic competition animal but at the same time knows how to be balanced. And it is in a balanced way, in fact, that he also commented on the glorious success at the Australian Open which earned him the twenty-first Slam of his career: “For me it’s all about the things that I, personally, and also my people, my team and my family, they did to help me get back on the court and give me a chance to compete at a high level,” the Spaniard said in an interview with the ATP Tennis Radio Podcast.

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Rafa’s incredible 2022 continues
Right after Rafael Nadal defeated Richard Gasquet in the third round at Roland Garros in 2005, former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash wrote a moving column about him for Times Online. “I believe he induces more pre-match fear in opponents than any other player, Federer included,” Cash wrote.

“He has an imposing presence on the court and whereas Federer is almost as undemonstrative as Bjorn Borg used to be, Nadal believes in letting other player know how emphatically he feels they have been outplayed. Opponents are frightened of Rafael Nadal, but he seems to fear nothing.

He came bounding out like this was his big chance. Even four years ago, his game had so many astounding qualities,” Cash wrote. “The physique had not developed and he looked like a child, but there was a maturity when he was under pressure and he showed an intensity beyond his years on every shot.”

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