'Rafael Nadal will give everything to beat me,' Alexander Zverev recalls



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'Rafael Nadal will give everything to beat me,' Alexander Zverev recalls

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev met for the eighth time in the last year's Madrid Masters quarter-final. Nadal had the upper hand in their first five meetings, and the German changed that on an indoor court in Paris and London at the end of 2020.

Zverev experienced early losses in Miami, Monte Carlo and Munich last year and raised his level in Madrid to reach the last eight. Alexander defeated Kei Nishikori and Daniel Evans in straight sets to set the quarter-final clash against a four-time Caja Magica champion Rafael Nadal.

The German was aware of how tough it is to beat Rafa on clay. Also, he knew that Rafa would be highly motivated to perform at his best in front of the home fans and defeat him after two straight losses. Nadal defeated Carlos Alcaraz and Alexei Popyrin in the opening two rounds and wished for more of the same against Zverev.

The Spaniard defeated the German three times on clay in 2017 and 2018. Still, it was not to be for him this time, as Zverev scored a 6-4, 6-4 victory in an hour and 44 minutes and extended his streak against Nadal.

Alexander Zverev toppled Rafael Nadal in Madrid last year.

"I have beaten Rafa the last few times that we have played.

Still, it's a completely different task to do that on clay. When you beat Rafa a few times in a row, it does not matter where, Rafa will be more motivated to strike back in the next matches. There's a higher bounce here in Madrid, and the serve goes through the court quicker.

The ball flies through the air much faster, so you can play more aggressively in comparison to the other clay courts. Despite that, I think Rafa is the favorite on any clay court, and that will not change. He moves better on a clay court than on a hard court, and it's not easy to hit winners against him.

I have to go for my shots and remain aggressive. When you play against the 'Big 3,' you play in the later stages of a tournament and have to bring your best tennis to stand a chance. I was killed by all of them a few times in a career, and I hope that would not be the case against Rafa," Alexander Zverev said.