Nadal: “My physique responded at the level of impact and saving balls”

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning against France's Adrian Mannarino during their men's singles match on day seven of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 23, 2022. (Photo by Aaron FRANCIS / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --

Rafa Nadal attended the accredited media at the Australian Open after his triumph in three sets against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, gestated, largely, in the tiebreaker of the first set. The Balearic gives a lot of value to that moment.

The tiebreaker: “I played a couple of them (smiling). But, yeah, it’s been crazy, chances for both of them and, yeah, lucky to win it in the end. That’s half the win, for sure.”

Physical and tennis: “The physical has responded to me, because there have been points in which I have run and I have put a little more than I am used to lately, at the level of impact and saving balls. Tennis I think that from 4-2 to 6 -4 from the tiebreaker I played fantastic, many very good points. It was a shame after the good dynamics I had and having served very well throughout the set, hitting an ugly serve. I wanted to do it open because I thought there was a chance of winning the point directly or that he would miss. But it came short and I went too far, really, I hit the ball low and it was too fast, so I couldn’t give it the spin I wanted, it was too direct. And the same thing happened to me again a little later. The game was borderline, uncomfortable, he was playing very well, at a very, very high level, his ball came very fast, very uncomfortable and in the right zone every time. It was very difficult to play against him, with which that puts a little more pressure on you, but in the end they hold I played mentally, accepting all the difficult moments, knowing that it was very difficult and fighting until the end, I generated some blows also in difficult moments. He won the tie-break and with it the half-match prize. Later it was necessary to confirm it, but with the break at the beginning of the second set I also took a very big step forward, and then I guess he was also a little tired from the match against Karatsev and everything was a little more smooth. It is a match of value and more in a situation like the one we came from”.

No break options: “Because he was playing very well. That’s the truth. He was playing at a very high level. His ball was super difficult to control, it came to me very fast, the serve was difficult to read and he spread the court very well. It was difficult Then I started to do it more inside the court against his second serve, and that’s where I took advantage of a bit. A player who wins against Karatsev and Hurkacz is that he is doing a lot of things well. I entered the court knowing that it was going to be a difficult match and against a player who has the ability to make you feel uncomfortable on the court, because of his style of play. It’s a victory with a lot of value, and especially the first set. I’m very happy about that. I was able to resist the hard moments of the first set It is a very important victory for me.”

Zverev, surprise?: “Not so much. He was a bit of a favorite probably because of his ranking, but not a clear favourite. Everyone knows how good Denis (Shapovalov) is when he’s playing well. I didn’t expect a three-set loss, but it happened. I don’t know.” whether Sascha played well or not, but even considering that Sascha wasn’t fantastic, winning in three sets against him is great. So I don’t see it as a surprise.”

Play against lefties: “It’s not the usual, because there aren’t many. It’s a little different to playing against a right-hander, but that’s all. You have to get used to those matches and adapt the game, be prepared to do it well. The way you approach the match is always It’s a little different, but in the end, what you think about is playing the best way possible.”

Evolution in the tournament: “For me the main thing is to be healthy enough to be here. Being able to play seven games, something I didn’t even know when I arrived. It’s great news. I did a lot of things well, and knowing where we come from and the amount of training at the highest level that I was able to do, things are going much better than expected, for sure. The sport changes fast, and you need to be ready at the right time to get it if you have the opportunity. I have been working very hard on everything for many months, not so much on the track, but in every way to try to return to the circuit and to a Grand Slam, something that is very special to me”.

Options: “A priori, before starting the tournament I said that I was not a candidate, I had to be realistic knowing where I came from and the circumstances. And I added that in sport things change very quickly. What happens today or what it seems, inside After a few days it may seem like something else. It may really be something else and what I have to do is be prepared in case the opportunity for it to be something else happens. It’s been ten days or so since we talked and I’m in a better position of what I was that day prior to the tournament, without a doubt. Having said that, I am not much of a person to talk about whether or not I consider myself a candidate. Here the game rules, it is the one that will dictate, and the physique. In the only thing What I trust is being able to be prepared to compete and from there, we’ll see”.

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