‘Rafael Nadal regained his mobility,’ says former legend

Sportem
Sportem
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Struggling with a foot injury, Rafael Nadal played only two matches in the second part of 2021 and ended the season in August. The Spaniard did not know what to expect at the start of 2022, losing both matches at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and catching the coronavirus.

Still, Rafa was ready to play competitive tennis in Melbourne and fight for every victory. Feeling good on the practice court and not thinking about titles, Nadal found his A-game to claim two titles and write history books at the Australian Open.

The Spaniard conquered the season’s first Major for the first time since 2009 and earned the record-breaking 21st Major title. Rafa moved well and did everything right to overcome a couple of challenging rivals and gain the crown.

Bjorn Borg watched his matches and was delighted with Nadal’s movement, which was not the case in the previous season. The Spaniard stood on the verge of the fifth consecutive defeat in the Australian Open finals. He trailed 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 against world no.

2 Daniil Medvedev before performing one of his career-best comebacks to cross the finish line first. Rafa scored a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win in five hours and 24 minutes and prevailed in the second-longest Major final in history!

Nadal was on the verge of defeat when he faced those three break points in the third set’s sixth game. Still, he overcame that game and gained a massive boost to fight even harder. Nadal claimed the third set after breaking the opponent with a backhand down the line winner in game nine and forged an early advantage in the fourth.

Bjorn Borg praised Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard’s second Australian Open.

Rafa held at love in game ten to wrap up the set and force a decider after four hours and 12 minutes, firmly believing in a complete comeback.

Pushing strong, the Spaniard placed a forehand down the line winner in the fifth game to open a 3-2 gap. Nadal survived a massive scare in the sixth game after fending off three break points. He secured the eighth game to forge a 5-3 advantage and move closer to the finish line.

Medvedev made one last push and broke back in game ten to level the score at 5-5 and increase the drama. Staying composed and using his vast experience, Rafa seized the third break chance in the 11th game and sealed the deal on his serve a few minutes later for the record-breaking 21st Major crown.

“I watched most of Rafa’s matches from my home. The best news for him is that he has regained his mobility from a couple of years ago. When I saw him at last year’s Roland Garros, he did not move the same way, which may be one reason he lost to Djokovic.

I did not know he was injured. In Australia, I saw the real Rafa again. I can not say much about the GOAT race, but Rafa should be the favorite at Roland Garros,” Bjorn Borg said.

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