Saturday, April 13

Nadal is already the best of all time

Nadal is already the best in history The Mallorcan becomes the first tennis player to reach 21 Grand Slam titles after coming back two sets to a gigantic Medvedev in an epic duel of more than five hours Great, monumental, wonderful. Give them whatever adjectives you want. In an unforgettable match of five hours and 24 minutes, Rafa Nadal has won his second Australian Open and his 21st Grand Slam title, the first tennis player to do so and which makes him the best in history. Thus, he undoes the tie that seemed immovable and that he maintained with the other two racket legends, the Swiss Roger Federer and the Serbian Novak Djokovic.

The result of the match against a gigantic Daniil Medvedev explains very well what was experienced at the Rod Laver Arena: 2/6, 6/7(5), 6/4, 6/4 and 7/5. It is the seventh time in tennis history that a player has come back two sets in Grand Slam finals. And in one of them Nadal already appears in one of the few records that remain to be obtained. After being practically unemployed for half a year due to his chronic injury to his left foot – “I have the scaphoid split in two”, Nadal explained to situate the seriousness of the situation he is experiencing, which has starred in the morning of this Sunday the Mallorcan remains for the history of tennis, of sport, an example of life. His victories will remain in the background due to the legacy that he will leave behind, of honesty, of knowing how to behave in the best of times and, above all, in the worst of times; and out of respect for his profession, his sport, which has given him everything, but he has also given him everything he has. He has literally risen from the ashes because no one would give a euro to see him raise a trophy again, and possibly he the first. We are facing an exemplary, unique athlete, among the greatest of all time, at the height of Jordan, Messi, Muhammad Ali, Merckx and so many others. On the way to 36 years old, he fights as if he were 18, as if he still had to conquer the world. That is possibly, his mastery on the track aside, one of the keys that explain his longevity. His ambition, his hunger to keep winning. He has just lifted the 90th title of his career, and let no one doubt that he will reach one hundred as long as his health respects him.

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He was against the ropes in the third set, with 3-2 against and 0-40 for Medvedev, but he turned it around


The game has been to save and teach it in tennis schools. The two protagonists have shown a commendable attitude throughout the game. No complaints, no regrets. Only some protest from Medvedev, with every reason in the world, when a spectator shouted at critical moments of the game. The first set was practically a walk for the Russian, number two in the world, a partial with little history for what would come later. The second has been resolved in sudden death, which Nadal has lost in an incredible way. And it is that he had the partial in his hand when, with 5-3, he served to take the set, even enjoying a ball to score this second set, which he wasted. In the tie break the play was repeated. Nadal has gone 5-3 again, two balls away from leveling the match, but Medvedev has scored four games in a row to put a 2-0 on the scoreboard that seemed practically definitive. Nadal accused his lack of effectiveness in the first service (53 percent in the first two sets), too much advantage against a rival who served with an 83 percent effectiveness in the first services. But Nadal has once again shown that you should never give him up for dead until the rival does not get the match point. As if it were a new match, the man from Manacor applied Diego Simeone’s tactics, game by game -point by point in this case- and wait to see if he had an opportunity to get hooked on the game. Wow, he got hooked. In the third set, the champion of 21 majors – how good it sounds – took risks. He had no other. He began to make more drops, which his rival choked. He put balls closer to the lines and significantly improved his service. Despite this improvement, Medvedev had the set, and possibly the match, in his hands, when with 3-2 in his favor, he wasted a 0-40, three balls for the 4-2 that would have been practically definitive. The one who did break was Nadal in the ninth game to keep his serve blank. Set for Nadal. There was party.

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The effort began to take its toll on the players, especially Medvedev, who asked the physio to massage his hamstrings. Nadal, ten years older than the Muscovite, seemed fresher as the minutes progressed. The world upside down. In the fifth game he broke for the second time and would take the set, again by 6/4. The title would be decided in a fifth set that was going to be epic. The final manga was a carousel of emotions. With the two tennis players exhausted, without showing his feelings of exhaustion, Nadal gave first in the fifth game by breaking his rival’s serve. After almost five hours of play, the Spaniard was ahead on the scoreboard for the first time. Every point, every game, was agony. Nadal defended his advantage to the limit against a commendable rival, who never gave his arm to twist, even in the worst moments. Medvedev, supported throughout the match by a spectacular backhand, possibly the best on the circuit, took advantage of his opportunity and, when Nadal served to take the match -he was two points from victory-, the Russian equalized to the despair of a tier that from the first minute opted for Nadal. Like the champion that he is, Nadal returned the coin in the next game and gave himself a new opportunity. And this time yes, it came out expensive. The rest of Medvedev with 40-0 for the Mallorcan went to the net. Nadal, exhausted, threw the racket to the ground and did not know whether to laugh or cry. He had just achieved one of the greatest feats in the history of sport. He had come back from an impossible match against a great rival, which makes his victory all the more commendable. Nadal is definitely eternal. With this victory, energy is injected to face new challenges, the next one being the reconquest of Roland Garros. But this is an other history. The best player of all time is back. And it seems that to stay. There is rope for a while in a legendary champion who refuses to throw in the towel. Long live Nadal.

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The Croatian was Nadal’s first victim in five-set comebacks. Kendrick and Youzhny suffered it in their flesh at Wimbledon.

Nadal is already the best of all time | EFE

A moment of grief

Nadal is already the best of all time | EFE

Nadal and Medvedev with their trophies.

Nadal is already the best of all time | EFE

Angry gesture of the tennis player from Manacor after winning a point

Nadal is already the best of all time

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