'Rafael Nadal match motivated me,' says ATP player



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'Rafael Nadal match motivated me,' says ATP player

The 26-year-old Maximilian Marterer is a former top-50 player. The German has not been able to repeat those results in the last couple of years, failing to return to the top-150 or score an ATP since Kitzbuhel 2020. Marterer has scored six Major victories so far, and three of those came at Roland Garros 2018 when he reached the fourth round to set the clash against the legend Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard needed two and a half hours to beat the German 6-3, 6-2, 7-6, struggling in the third set before sealing the deal in the tie break. Ranked 214th, Marterer passed three qualifying rounds in Paris last year to return to the main draw.

The German played well in the second and third rounds, and he watched the highlights of his match against Rafa to bring up his confidence and momentum. In that 2018 clash, Nadal broke Marterer five times and suffered two breaks to seal the deal in straight sets and advance into the quarter-final.

Also, it was his 900th ATP victory. Rafa finished the match with 37 winners and 28 unforced errors, while Marterer stood on 24 winners and 32 mistakes. The lower-ranked player did everything he could to impose his shots and move the defending champion from his comfort zone.

The youngster opened the match with a break, and Nadal got it back in game four to level the score at 2-2. Maximilian had two more break chances in the next game, but Rafa fended them off and broke at love a few minutes later for a 4-2 advantage.

Maximilian Marterer played against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros 2018.

Two solid serves pushed Rafa over the finish line in game nine, and he carried that rhythm into set number two. Nadal dropped five points in four service games and scored breaks in the first and seventh games for a commanding 6-2.

The final set delivered a tight battle that lasted for 70 minutes, as they traded breaks in games four and five to reach the tie break. Rafa prevailed 7-4 to avoid further struggle and secure a place in the last eight. "I watched the highlights of my match against Rafa the day before qualies started as motivation.

I wanted to see how I was playing that day, remember how well I could play and fire me up. I have it all in my head. I remember how nervous and tight I was in the beginning when I was walking on the court with Rafa. But also, after a great fight, particularly in the third set tie break, I'll never forget the memory of the handshake.

It's often in my mind when I think of Roland Garros. Whenever I think of my career, it's still the biggest success, so it always gives me a boost to return here," Maximilian Marterer said.