In 2005, 18-year-old Rafael Nadal stormed the field in Acapulco to claim the third ATP title and build momentum for one of the best teen seasons in the Open era. Last year, Nadal competed in Acapulco as one of the best players of all time, five times not.
1 and winner of 19 major crowns. The Spaniard was eager to go all the way in this event for the first time since 2013 when he became Acapulco's last champion on clay. Rafa defeated David Ferrer in the title clash in 2013 and had to wait seven years to lift another trophy in Mexico.
Playing his last tournament before the pandemic, Nadal lost 25 games in ten sets in Acapulco to secure the 85th ATP title and lift the trophy for the first time since the 2019 US Open. Rafa played at a high level and lost no more than three matches in nine out of ten sets.
In the last three games, the Spaniard dominated Soonwoo Kwon, Grigor Dimitrov and Taylor Fritz to secure the trophy and extend his record streak of 17 seasons with at least one ATP title. In the title clash, Nadal edged Fritz 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 14 minutes for his 22nd ATP title on the hardline.
Nadal announced an end to his 2021 season
Younes El Aynaoui recently expressed his admiration for the Big 3, but reserved special praise for Novak Djokovic and his ability to juggle multiple roles simultaneously. Younes El Aynaoui was then asked for his two cents on the GOAT debate.
He began by pointing out that he has beaten both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal but has never faced Djokovic. But he asserted that he considers each member of the Big 3 as the "best" "I played against Federer and Nadal when they were both relatively young on the tour.
I won against both of them once," El Aynaoui said. "I even beat Nadal at the US Open. I see all three of them as the best, even if I never played against Novak. When talking about self-control, Nadal is outstanding," added the Moroccan.
"He never shows his frustration, only his motivation. When it comes to the beauty of tennis with fluid movements, Federer is the ultimate." Nadal announced an end to his 2021 season two months ago because of a chronic foot injury.
The injury resurfaced during the semifinals of this year’s French Open against Novak Djokovic. Following his French Open loss, Nadal withdrew from the Wimbledon Championships and the Tokyo Olympics. While he returned to compete at the Citi Open, Nadal continued to experience pain in his left foot.
The former World No.1 subsequently pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters and, a few days later, declared an end to his season, just ahead of the US Open.