Paris — His hair is thinner at the top. His knees trembled. In January, he suddenly collapsed with a back that Balkyb nearly forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open.
And with wins over Jannik Sinner from Italy, a young 19-year-old Rafael Nadal came into the final eight again in the tournament on his own, basically, since 2548 only that he owned. somewhere else more than he used to be
Nadal wasn’t perfect on Monday in a 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 win. He was 5-3 down in the first set before winning four games in a row, coughing up a 4-0 lead in the second but in As he almost always uses clay at Roland Garros. He takes all the necessary The sinner was stranded around the field as if he had a metal rod inserted into his chest.
“At some point he was playing and I was just running,” said the sinner.
Nadal has won the French Open 13 times. The French Tennis Federation has revealed a statue of him in the area ahead of the tournament. which is the iron sight of the final moments of his powerful forehand. Monday’s victory was the 104th of his Roland Edgar Ross.
The victory leaves Nadal third in his current standings. Success in Paris. Closer to the semi-finals with world number one Novak Djokovic, Djokovic defeated 19-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the An even more bizarre match of the tournament, Djokovic lost the first two sets, missing a target and dropping two tiebreakers like never before.
He then took a bathroom break and returned a solid player, winning 12 of the next 13 games to tie the knot at two sets. He won four more before Musetti retired 4-0 in the fifth set.
But the 35-year-old Nadal, who appeared in the semi-finals of the 34-year-old Djokovic, is very different from Nadal, who started winning in Paris a long time ago.
back then Nadal is the guardian of the First Order. He crouched down to the back line. Chasing every ball And especially on the red clay that he loved so much. Makes his match at Roland Garros became a war of attrition.
That wasn’t Nadal, who the sinners met on Monday in the last 16, or the same England’s Cam Norrie encountered in the third round over the weekend. Nadal today He knows that there is only a five-hour marathon that veteran players can survive only. It was aimed at speed and efficiency almost equal to victory.
“I definitely do what I can at every moment,” he said. “If I can win faster then better.”
Up to now, the years in the latter days of Nadal’s dominance on clay Opponents are familiar with what to expect. But they still staggered from the experience.
“It was amazing how quickly he served to find a way forward,” Norrie said after the loss. Norrie felt he played well against Nadal. but when he said His eyes sparkled. It was as if he had just seen something that he could hardly believe. “This man does not give up.”
between points Nadal was as willful as always. he sweats a lot and wiped out every chance he could manage.
He swears he doesn’t have obsessive-compulsive disorder. But he still had to deal with the symptoms and events. his before starting to play Sweep the line clean with his feet. Hit the shoe with the racket three times before the first serve to free the sole of the clay, bouncing the ball over and over again until it feels in your hand before throwing.
when it started Nadal became relentless with each passing year. Especially since 2016, when he began working full-time with Carlos Moya, the retired Spaniard and former world number one who won the 1998 French Open.
The changes in tennis tactics may seem minor on the surface. But it may overestimate the way the scores, games and matches are played.
in Nadal’s case Hawkeye’s laser camera which has become more prevalent over the past decade. and takes hundreds of measurements per second of each player’s ball and field position. tell a story
When Hawkeye data analyst Sam Maclean compiled the numbers, the data showed how Nadal had modified his playing style in his 30s, becoming more aggressive and trying to finish as quickly as he could. Although he would never be like that. A person who scores multiple points on the net.
Not surprisingly, this change was especially noticeable during Nadal’s service game. when he had the best chance of controlling what was going on during that point.
From 2012 to 2016, Nadal scored 30 per cent of his first shots after he served from inside the base line. But each year he works with Moya, that number goes up first at 36 percent, then 39 percent, then 41 percent, and last year it was 42 percent.
Why is it so important? Because when Nadal fired the first from the back line, he won 74 per cent of the points. When he fired his first shot from behind the base line, he won only 59 percent of the points.
And while Nadal often drifted deep into the back court when his opponent served rate will gradually develop into a struggle for him to step forward. until the tape at the center of the backline he had previously kicked clean to quickly get himself on target. go in between
Although Nadal gave himself less time to get on the pitch for his first shot. But he still bounced as hard as he used to. On average, about 75 miles per hour. According to Hawkeye’s information with fierceness. Topspin that makes his ball feel like a rock on an opponent’s racket.
“He’s the only one who does that with topspin at the forehand,” said France’s Richard Gasquet. who managed to beat Nadal just seven games in their second match.
Gasquet said it was impossible to prepare for Nadal because no one trained with anyone who hit the ball from a distance like he did. Gasquet is the same age as Nadal and has played with him since he was a teenager. He spent years in the top 10. He was 0-16 against him on the ATP Tour and the victory was decisive as always, although Nadal should have been worse.
“It was really difficult for me to play,” Gasquet said after the defeat.
Alexei Popyrin from Australia Nadal’s first-round victim was proud to be close to winning the title.
“It was his court,” Popyrin said after his defeat. “It was always his court.”