Of course, nothing is impossible on paper. But given its latest results, there is room for doubt. Nadal lost three games in a row for the first time in 13 years. Three losses against three Americans, Frances Tiafoe at the US Open, Tommy Paul at Bercy, and therefore Fritz at Turin. Even if you have to say never with such an animal, the most likely hypothesis today is that the Mallorca 2022 season ends in blood sausage.
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AN HOUR BEFORE
One thing is for sure, Nadal will not have wasted his time. “With two Grand Slam wins, it’s going to be a good season no matter what else.“, reminded Carlos Moya, the former world number one and current coach of “Rafa”. It’s hard to contradict him. Having won the Australian Open and then the Roland-Garros, Nadal has more than 99% of players in their entire career in six months. The truth is that this has intensified their success in about half a season. The Spaniard has been going through a minor ordeal since his withdrawal from the Wimbledon semi-finals due to a tummy tuck.
In practice, Rafa has been playing really well the last few days but hasn’t found the key to turning it into a match.
He has only played seven games in the last four months, won three (all at the US Open, where he reached the last 16), and suffered four losses. “He was a little unlucky with injuries. Judge Carlos Moya. This season he proved to everyone that he can still play well and aim for victory in the big tournaments. When you hold the body, Rafa is always ready” That’s the whole point. In the last eighteen months, he’s only been able to express himself 100% a third of the time, and even then, he’s recovered two bow injuries at Indian Wells and Rome.
It lacks rhythm as it cannot chain tournaments today. He fights with the guns of the moment, but in the hyper-competitive context of Masters that may not be enough. That was against Taylor Fritz. “Rafa served well but the rest of his game was not on point and it’s tough against such an opponent in these conditions. accepts his coach. It sure wasn’t his best match… Rafa was playing very well in training, he had great feelings lately, but he couldn’t find the key to turning it into a match.“
So will he be able to get away with it? The Nadal clan, as always, refuses to give up, like Carlos Moya: “Not an ideal start, but the good side of Masters. Even if you have a bad day, you can still qualify. We clearly believe there is still a chance, you have to believe it, but it will have to play much better.“
Against Félix Auger-Aliassime, he will already give up, play a double or almost. In case of defeat, he will either be eliminated or have to hope for an unexpected miracle. Otherwise, it will be able to turn its back on this complex period by returning to 2023. Moya jealously promises. “Obviously, young people are coming more and more, said. Rafa is better than before, but the legs are not the same, so you have to adapt to stay competitive. He must stay out of danger. This is the most important, but not the easiest at her age, but it’s the key. If successful, it will still be competitive next year.“
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