'I know what Rafael Nadal’s thinking when...', says former ATP star

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'I know what Rafael Nadal’s thinking when...', says former ATP star

Rafael Nadal's problems against Adrian Mannarino last a set. After a thirty-point tie break (and in which he is saved even on four occasions) the Spanish champion spreads between the second and third without making any particular changes to the script.

The French tennis player - evidently tested by the marathon with Aslan Karatsev in the third round - moves the score only on three occasions. Nadal then reaches the quarter-finals on the blue Melbourne Park for the fourteenth time in his career (better only Roger Federer) and makes forty-five in the Slams.

On the podium in this special classification together with the Swiss obviously Novak Djokovic. The 2009 edition champion, with a positive eight-game run, presumably avoids even the most complicated of obstacles on the way to the final.

Alexander Zverev, beaten by Denis Shapovalov in three sets, once again misses the chance to move forward in the portion of the board left vacant by the world number one. Mannarino's geometries force Nadal to overtime. At least during the first stage.

The very Spanish champion, who struggles to find the right supports and to read the direction of the serve, even finds himself canceling a break point at the foot of the tie break. Tie break which, as per protocol, turns out to be completely crazy and obviously decisive.

Nadal, who recovers from a 2-4 disadvantage and who hooks the 6-4 with an extraordinary passer-by from forehand into the race. Over? Not at all. Mannarino remains wildly hooked, obtains a total of four set points (squandering the chance at 12-11 in a rather banal way, favored by a rather soft short ball from the Majorcan) and with the point for 15-15 practically in his hand he misses the point.

angle of the attack and makes it easy prey for the passer-by.

Marc Lopez speaks about Nadal

Marc Lopez recently revealed that the transformation from friend to coach of Rafael Nadal was not an easy one. He said it was made even more difficult since it involved critiquing a player whose game was virtually perfect.

"I’ve shared many moments with Rafa, but as a friend. Now it’s different. I found it a bit difficult to give instructions to a player who is close to perfection. Although I always say that from the outside, there are things that can be improved," Lopez said.

"I know Rafa very well. I’ve been watching his matches for many years and I know what he’s thinking when he plays. I feel obliged to tell him things because I want the best for him." Despite being a coach, he stressed that it was important to alleviate Nadal's doubts as a friend off the court.

"Off court, Rafa is a person who has his [own] thoughts and doubts. My role is to try and give him a hand with as much as possible," Lopez said. "On court I change my mindset and tell him what I’m seeing, and off court we have the same relationship as before. His surroundings are very important to him."