'Rafael Nadal has won a lot despite...', says former ATP ace

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'Rafael Nadal has won a lot despite...', says former ATP ace

It was not just a triumph for Carlos Alcaraz. One that, by the way, sends him to the quarterfinals of the Miami Open presented by Itau for the first time in his career. What happened this Tuesday after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3 was confirmation that the 18-year-old Spaniard is capable of combining perseverance, effectiveness and magic.

Lots of magic. And it was clear from the beginning of the round of 16 match when the Spaniard won a hoot with two Great Willy included. Candidate, of course, for the best point on the ATP Tour 2022. The Murcian continued to be inspired despite being down on the scoreboard.

Tsitsipas led 5-2 in the first set with absolute confidence that allowed him to give up just four points in his first three games on serve, as well as save four break points at 4-2. The seed No. 14 never lowered his arms: he broke at 5-3 when the Greek served for the partial and sealed the 5-5 with another shot.

His boldness allowed him to continue to surprise in the next game. He won it by coming back from 40/15 and, minutes later, he won all the points by serving for the first set. Momentum allowed him to break in the opening game of the second set, and from then on it was his responsibility to protect the advantage.

It was not easy. He faced two break points at 2-1 and one more at 3-2. Rafael Nadal will be hoping to make a comeback at the Madrid Open, where he is a five-time champion.

Rafa Nadal won 21 Grand Slam titles

In a recent interview with Eurosport, Mats Wilander said he never felt that injuries would shorten Rafael Nadal's career, contrary to what most experts believed.

Instead, the Swede said the Spaniard's love for the sport and hunger to succeed would keep him going for a long time. “Rafa Nadal will last until he gets injured and then he will go home and he will do rehab and then he will play again and he will push himself so hard physically and mentally and emotionally that he will get injured again and then he will go home, he will rehab and he will start again," added the 57-year-old.

In the interview, Wilander also hailed Nadal as the GOAT from a statistical standpoint and marveled at what the Spaniard had managed to achieve despite being plagued by injuries. “He’s the best player of all time on paper for the men so I think that maybe what he’s done is actually better than if you play for 18 years in a row and never take a break," said Wilander.