Rafael Nadal has expressed great tennis in this first half of the season. The Spanish phenomenon left everyone speechless by winning the first two Grand Slams of 2022 and winning the first 20 games played this year. Half a miracle, considering that Rafa had just played seven official tournaments in 2021 due to pain in his foot.
The comeback against Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final is destined to remain in the annals, as well as the splendid ride at Roland Garros. The 36-year-old from Manacor had arrived in Paris with a thousand doubts related to his physical condition, but still managed to lift his 14th trophy in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
The former world number 1 has hoisted himself to 22 Majors, further stretching Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings. The Majorcan will face Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp for a place in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
The two have already met in the third round of Roland Garros 2022, with Nadal winning in three sets.
Van de Zandschulp on Djokovic and Nadal
“I played him at Roland Garros and I think at the moment, that is the biggest challenge in tennis.
I think it's going to be a tough one here at Wimbledon, but, I have more confidence here to really make a shot. Maybe I can hurt him on grass. I think what he has done, winning 22 Grand Slams, is something nobody is ever going to do.
Maybe Novak Djokovic is the only one who is going to do it,” van de Zandschulp said. “I remember the match he played against Federer, the final here in 2008. I think it went pretty late, in five sets. That one was quite insane.
I think he had match points in the fourth set and Federer hit a backhand down the line on match point. I think that match stands out for me," he added. Speaking about his game, van de Zandschulp stated that he is striking the ball well and is confident in long matches.
“I think all the parts are falling together, fitting together. I have the feeling during the match my game starts to come together and I'm striking the ball well. I think I can keep up the level for the duration of the match, because I feel physically good.
That is why I have confidence in the long matches. Maybe that's a reason why I play more consistently at the Slams," van de Zandschulp concluded.