Rafa Nadal trained this Saturday on court 19 of the Melbourne National Tennis Center amidst great expectation and under the scorching ocean sun, which brings with it a suffocating heat wave, with temperatures above 30 degrees. He did it smoothly, rallying with Marc López and Carlos Moyá. Some exchanges and draws for an hour. He had gone to bed very late the night before after beating Karen Khachanov in the third round and attending the media at around 1:00 local time.
This is how he remained active to face the round of 16 match of the Australian Open that will face him this Sunday (not before 4:00 Spanish time, Eurosport) against Adrian Mannarino for the third time (2-0 in his favor in the face-to-face ), a rival who went to bed even later than him. The 33-year-old Frenchman and 69th in the world beat another Russian, Aslan Karatsev in a match that ended at 2:34 and started at 21:54. Mannarino explained to L’Equipe how he had prepared himself to stay awake and focused at such hours. “I had to have five coffees before. I didn’t mind having trouble sleeping afterwards as long as I was in shape to compete.”
— Adrian Mannarino (@AdrianMannarino) January 21, 2022
In the statements he made after his victory for the French media, Mannarino recounted how he almost lost motivation last year due to injuries and the effects of the pandemic. “I was locked in the room all the time because of the bubbles and I didn’t have a good time on the track. I lost and I didn’t care, I was disoriented. Luckily, I’m back on the right track and found motivation by beating important rivals.”
Flattery of the Balearic
“Mannarino is playing very well. His match against Hubert (Hurkacz) was a surprise. Beating him in three showed that he is doing things very well”Nadal said after completing his “best match” so far in the tournament, when asked about his next opponent, a peculiar tennis player, with flat shots with short movement, who will try to cut the Spaniard’s rhythm.
Australian Open Men’s Draw.