The survival test with Korda obviously proves to be therapeutic for Rafael Nadal. Champion in 2008, 2010 and 2013, the Spaniard after nine years finds himself once again in the role of the all-time favorite after the missteps of Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev.
The seventeenth success of the season, the number four hundred in the category, is worth the comparison in the round of 16 with Reilly Opelka but above all the third place (tied with Sampras in 1997 and Federer in 2017) in the ranking of the best starts in history.
The problems of the very Spanish champion basically lasted for a set. Forced to recover a break from behind and to avoid the tie break in the opening set. Without resorting to special effects, the number four of the block in California manages to find quality and quantity in times of need.
With the matter in hand, and a break to be kept even in the opening of the second set, he gets out of trouble with a splendid serve & volley at 3-1 30-40 (embellished with a second long volley, if possible even more complicated) and he then keeps the next two rounds of serving with extreme simplicity.
The taking-in of the 7-5 6-3 final explains abundantly the hows and whys. Sixty-seven minutes. Carlos Alcaraz needs so much to break up the defense of the very mangy Roberto Bautista Agut, who only in another case had he tested the suffering of such a severe defeat.
Rublev talks about Nadal
World No. 7 Andrey Rublev believes Rafael Nadal is the mentally strongest athlete in the history of sport. The Russian also lauded the Spaniard’s 2022 Australian Open final triumph over Daniil Medvedev, saying he has never seen anything else like it in his life.
“He can do that even when he’s losing,” Rublev continued. “In the first set [of the Australian Open final], he couldn’t put in even one ball. He was really tight. Then he’s losing two sets to love, and Daniil had opportunities in the third set at 0-40, He just swallowed and swallowed everything, not one word of complaint.
In the end, he was leading, serving for the match but couldn’t make it. Not one word of complaint. Then he won it! I have never seen something like this in my life. I don’t know what Daniil was feeling in that moment, you cannot judge someone when you haven’t been in that situation,” Rublev said.
“Obviously, people were supporting Rafa more because he is Rafa – one of the greatest in the history of sport. He was playing for his 21st Grand Slam that’s why people were supporting him more.”