'I envy and admire Rafael Nadal', says former ATP player

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'I envy and admire Rafael Nadal', says former ATP player

Rafael Nadal became world number two in the summer of 2005, claiming his first Major crown in June and winning three consecutive titles in July and August. After the Roland Garros title, Rafa made an early start at Wimbledon and hoped for a better turnout at the US Open, where he had not performed well in the previous two years.

Rafa secured two wins in New York before falling to James Blake in four sets and hitting the starting gate again without reaching the second week. In the first match, the Spaniard defeated Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, never losing serve and producing four breaks to make a winning start.

He does not. 352 in the world, Scoville Jenkins, gave his best to Rafa in the second round before the favorite won 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in just under two and a half hours. Rafa was unhappy with his level in the first two games, hoping to improve him ahead of a dangerous opponent in the next.

As it turned out, Blake proved too strong for Nadal, beating the teenager 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the knockout stages. Nadal was not satisfied with his performance, lacking confidence at crucial moments and having nothing in the tank in set number four.

James dodged eight out of ten break opportunities and stole serve from Rafa six times to control the score and get one of the best wins of his career at the time. "I just lost in one of the best tournaments in the world, so I am not very happy at the moment.

I knew it would be difficult; Blake is playing great tennis. I was not happy with my game in the first two rounds; I improved him a little today, but it was not enough."

Bertolucci opens up on Nadal

Former Italian Davis Cup captain Paolo Bertolucci recently remarked that while Roger Federer epitomizes tennis, Novak Djokovic is the best player of all time.

According to Bertolucci, Djokovic and Nadal have unparalleled levels of mental strength, which sets them apart from their peers. During a recent interview with Corriere Della Sera Veneto, Paolo Bertolucci was asked for his two cents on the GOAT debate between Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

"Federer is tennis, we are all Federians, but the Djokovic of 2013 and of the last year and a half is the strongest player ever," Bertolucci said. "He and Nadal are able to keep mental and competitive rhythms that I would not have managed even five minutes. But how do they do it? I envy and admire them."