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.
Rafa lost just nine points behind the opening shot, annihilating the only break point he faced and dominating the opponent's second serve to take three breaks to sail over the finish line. The Spaniard had the advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes and defeated the American in the most advanced exchanges to close out a perfect week and celebrate in Acapulco for the first time in seven years.
"I am happy with my performance in Acapulco, it is an important title for me. It came after a bad start to the year and a bit of rest after the Davis Cup Finals, which gave me confidence for the next tournaments. Acapulco is one of the best events in the world and it means even more to me after knowing that I had not played well here in recent years.
We will celebrate the title and prepare for the next round in Indian Wells, hoping to maintain the winning streak and fight for the trophy again," said Rafael Nadal.
Nadal’s recovery process seems to be going well
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." El Aynaoui went on to heap praise on Nadal's self-control and Federer's aesthetic tennis.
"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’s recovery process seems to be going well since he’s back on the court after only a few weeks since undergoing treatment. It’s a reason to cheer for the fans, who are hoping to witness Nadal back in action at the start of the 2022 season.