'Rafael Nadal is closer to 16 years old than...', says ATP legend

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'Rafael Nadal is closer to 16 years old than...', says ATP legend

From Melbourne Park to Indian Wells, the same dynamics and the same protagonist. A few days before the first '1000' of the season, a new Djokovic-Gate erupts. The organizers themselves did not clarify whether the Serbian champion will actually be present or not: from the protocol the answer would obviously be negative, however the communication has left some openings.

"We are currently communicating with his team; at the moment, however, it has not been decided whether he will participate in the event obtaining the approval of the Cdc to enter the country." From seeding number two he could face David Goffin in the second round and one in the third between Alexandr Bublik and Andy Murray, who announced in the past few hours that he wants to donate the entire seasonal prize money to charity to support Ukrainian children.

Eighth theorist with Diego Schwartzman, fourth - at least strictly speaking - with Andrey Rublev. We go up with Matteo Berrettini, number six of the seeding, to return after the semifinal obtained at the Australian Open and the forced withdrawal in Acapulco.

For the blue number one the challenge in the second round with a qualifier or Ugo Humbert. On the road there could also be Felix Auger Aliassime and Alexander Zverev, who could obviously find the quarterfinals. The initial clash with Grigor Dimitrov was difficult for the German to break down Tommy Paul's resistance in the first round.

Three (out of five) the Azzurri will benefit from a bye in the first round. Together with Berrettini, obviously Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego. The two among other things could find themselves on a collision course at the foot of the second round.

In the same quarter also Rafael Nadal. The very Spanish champion - still unbeaten this season - will presumably face the talented Sebastian Korda in the second round and with Dan Evans immediately after.

Wilander talks about Rafa Nadal

Tennis legend Mats Wilander is still in disbelief over Rafael Nadal's resurgence in 2022.

"Rafael Nadal's turning 36 during the French Open. He is closer to 16 years old than 36 years old, emotionally," Wilander said. "That is where he separates himself from the other Big-3, I should say. It would be amazing if he could keep this up [after] we really thought last year that it was surely close to being the end of Rafa's career.

He himself thought it could be the end of his career," Wilander said. "I would have never imagined, even though [I expected him to be] playing physically, in a million years that he would be doing what he is doing now.

Not during this part of the year. Yes, [if we] move forwards a month and a half, when the claycourt season has started, then we are back to Rafael Nadal, the ageless clay court king," he added.