SportThe incredible last month of Rafa Nadal

The incredible last month of Rafa Nadal

Rafa Nadal is made of a different paste. The Spanish tennis player reappeared on the official circuit at the beginning of the year after his foot forced him to stop in August. The Balearic was tested in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi last December, from where he left with two defeats and a positive for coronavirus upon arrival in Spain. As soon as he could, he traveled to Australia to test himself, with many doubts in his mind. Four weeks in the Antipodes have been enough for him to add a title to his showcase and a ticket in his pocket to glory next Sunday in the final of the Australian Open.

Rafa Nadal’s emotional tears after beating Matteo Berrettini after a battle of about three hours at the Rod Laver Arena and that gave him the direct passport to the final of the Australian Open. The man from Manacor released all the tension, got emotional and recognized how important it was for him to be in a Grand Slam final again. He leaves behind four months out of the circuit, a foot treatment and many doubts about whether he could compete again.

It was last August when Nadal announced that he was ending the season to undergo a new treatment on his foot. He was looking for another solution to an injury that has accompanied him since his inception. Four months away in which he had to give up important appointments, but as soon as he felt ready to try himself he returned. He did it in the exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on December 17 and 18. There, Nadal left a good feeling, but left with two defeats against Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov.

Nadal acknowledged that he was still not sure if he would arrive ready for the Australian Open. The uncertainty would be even greater upon his return to Spain, at which time he tested positive for coronavirus. Forced to stop and isolate himself until he recovered, Nadal took the ticket to Melbourne as soon as he obtained a negative result in the PCR. His goal was to test himself at the ATP 250 in Melbourne, on the same Rod Laver Arena where the Australian Open would be held weeks later.

First bite of the year and a chance for history

The preparation session for the Australian Open went off like a charm. Nadal added a new title to his showcases after beating American Maxime Cressy in the final in a tournament in which he did not even drop a set. The title, beyond the trophy itself, was a breath of fresh air and confidence for Nadal in order to feel competitive in the first Grand Slam of the season.

Already at the Australian Open, Nadal has been going from less to more until he made a great leap in quality, especially in the second week of competition, against the toughest rivals. “It is difficult to explain that I am playing at this level, I have had fun again and feel alive” , explained Rafa Nadal after beating Matteo Berrettini in the semifinal. And it is that despite the lack of filming, the pupil of Carlos Moyá has managed to face rivals of the stature of Denis Shapovalov or the Italian himself to advance towards his sixth final in Melbourne.

“People outside may not believe it, but my team knows what I’ve been through these last six months. I didn’t know if I would compete at this level again,” Nadal acknowledged to the Eurosport microphones. At 35 years old and after the past ordeal, the man from Manacor will play his 29th Grand Slam final this Sunday in his first opportunity to become the first tennis player to conquer the 21 Grands.

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