ATP Madrid – Nadal the survivor: “Real inspired me”

His scarred face left no room for doubt. When he left the court on Thursday, Rafael Nadal could not hide from the television cameras his great weariness after more than three hours of tense effort and an outcome as crazy as it was liberating against David Goffin. And for good reason, as he had recalled after his victorious comeback the day before, the Mallorcan had practically not been able to prepare before the tournament, having just returned from his rib injury. He was also unable to maintain the same intensity from the first to the last point. But he never lost sight of his goal: victory.

Even back to the wall when it was necessary to save four match points in the decisive tie-break. Nadal has the fight in his blood, he never gives up. But in these precise circumstances, deprived of the rhythm of the competition for six weeks, he needed an extra soul. And he found it in the emotions experienced the night before at the Santiago-Bernabeu stadium. “This Champions League semi-final return (between Real Madrid and Manchester City, editor’s note) was an unforgettable evening. Real Madrid’s state of mind has been incredible. And that was an inspiration to me in a way. It reminded me of the way I fought my whole career“, a named one who is also an avid merengue supporter.

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I’m not totally happy because I should have won in straight sets

Even when all seems lost, everything is still possible. That could be the moral of this story. Except that Nadal would have spared himself such chills. Because unlike Real who was eliminated for 90 minutes before reversing the trend, the Mallorcan mastered his subject well and almost saw the match avoid him. Satisfied to have given himself a chance to continue the tournament, he knows that recovery will be a challenge – he spent more than five hours on the court in two days – especially after so long without playing and that he could have approach the quarter-finals cooler.

Honestly, it was a very tough game. David played at a very high level. And at the same time, I’m not totally happy, because I think I should have won in straight sets, no doubt. It’s a victory and 3h10 spent on the court that help me improve physically. Saving match points gives me confidence to continue on this path. I need matches and days like this to get back to great shape as soon as possible“, he nevertheless conceded.

Meanwhile, Nadal is 22 wins to one loss this season. And this virtuous circle maintains his confidence, regardless of the circumstances and the scenario of the matches. As long as the beast is not finished, it remains dangerous. And by force, the “Taurus of Manacor” could feel invincible… if the physique follows, of course.

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