'Rafael Nadal was just better at everything', says former ATP ace

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'Rafael Nadal was just better at everything', says former ATP ace

Rafael Nadal left everyone speechless at the Australian Open 2022. The Spanish champion, who had arrived in Melbourne amidst a thousand uncertainties, achieved a memorable ride that allowed him to win his second 'Down Under' title.

Thanks to this triumph, the former world number 1 has hoisted himself to 21 slams, overtaking Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time ranking. The Majorcan became the fourth man in history to have conquered all the majors at least twice (keeping company with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson).

The 35-year-old from Manacor succeeded in recovering Daniil Medvedev's two sets in the final, undermining his opponent's certainties just as the Russian glimpsed the finish line banner. Rafa will try to reach 22 already at Roland Garros, where he will be the big favorite, waiting to understand if Djokovic will be present or not in Paris.

In a recent interview with the 'Telegraph', former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski recalled his first meeting with a very young Rafa Nadal.

Rusedski talks about Nadal

"I still clearly remember the first time I saw Rafael Nadal play.

I was playing an exhibition in Mallorca," Rusedski wrote. "He was 15, he was training on clay, and it was scary. You imagine it was like seeing Cristiano Ronaldo or George Best play football for the first time."

Rusedski was particularly effusive in his praise of the Spaniard's forehand, which has become renowned for helping him control the tempo of a rally. "I was just, 'Oh my god, I don't want to play against this kid,'" Rusedski wrote.

"I had never seen anything like it. He already had this extraordinary forehand, which allowed him to keep his opponent on a leash, with a breathtaking level of intensity." The Canadian disclosed that he was always one step behind Nadal during their exchanges in their training session, alluding to just how good the Mallorcan was from the baseline.

"I then had the chance to train with Rafa a few years later when he was 19. I left the circuit, he entered it. I always felt like I was half a step away from the ball... was constantly out of reach," he wrote. "If I couldn't finish the point quickly and he could overpower me, might as well shake hands.

He was just better at everything." Recently, Rafael Nadal announced he will play at the Indian Wells Masters, also known as BNP Paribas Open after almost three years. Nadal last played at the Indian Wells back in 2019, where he withdrew from his match against Roger Federer in the semi-final.

Speaking about his comeback this year, Nadal is looking forward to it, as he said, “For me it will be even more special returning this year after missing the tournament in October. See you soon in the tennis (and golf) paradise, Indian Wells”.