Former American tennis star Lindsay Davenport thought Rafael Nadal's reaction after his Australian Open semifinal win showed how much it means to him to be back playing. Nadal, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, played in only event after the 2021 French Open.
Nadal was hampered by a persisent foot issue and he ended up calling it a season in August. Nadal made his return to competitive action earlier this month at the Melbourne Summer Set, where he made it all the way. On Friday, Nadal overcame world No.
7 Matteo Berrettini in four sets to make the Australian Open final. Nadal was visibly emotional after making the final at Melbourne Park. "We very rarely see tears from Rafael Nadal and when he went to his bench, it was a lot.
He was crying in his hand, trying to hide it. You could see how much [reaching the final at the Australian Open] meant to him," Davenport said on Tennis Channel.. "We heard him say, "I wasn't sure I was going to be able to play tennis again" and you could see all that come pouring out of him after that win."
Nadal didn't let Berrettini make a comeback
Nadal defeated Berrettini 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 to reach his 29th Grand Slam final. "I loved the match he played. [In] the first two sets, he was absolutely dominant. [He was] playing [Matteo] Berrettini's backhand, playing to his own patterns.
In the fourth set, Rafa had to grind to hold his serve," Davenport said. "He was in trouble in a couple service games but really upped the pace on his serve, got some free points and was just biding his time till there was a little opening to break [Berrettini's] serve.
It was a masterclass in Nadal managing his emotions and his physicality, a veteran win." Nadal will be battling world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title.