Rafael Nadal: 'She's having a tough year but...'

Rafael Nadal’s start to the season left everyone speechless

by Simone Brugnoli
Rafael Nadal: 'She's having a tough year but...'

On Center Court at Wimbledon, Lorenzo Sonego was Rafael Nadal's opponent in the third round. The Spaniard has returned to the main court of the main English tournament after three years of absence, specifically since the 2019 semifinal that he lost to Roger Federer.

After a difficult debut against Cerúndolo, in which he risked a fifth set, he repeated the 3-1 result in the second round against Berankis. The path was different for the Italian: in the first match, the victory came in the fifth and decisive set against Kudla; in the next, however, a 3–0 straight sets victory against Gastón.

At the end of the first week in the lower part of the draw, Rafael Nadal again faces an Italian tennis player in a Slam tournament. The Spanish champion has so far faced seven Italians in the four major tennis events: Flavio Cipolla, Simone Bolelli, Fabio Fognini, Andreas Seppi, Matteo Berrettini, Stefano Travaglia and Jannik Sinner; at Wimbledon, Lorenzo Sonego joins this list.

All of the world number four's wins against the Italians, bringing the total to eleven, with the exception of one, dating back to 2015. The only match that Rafa Nadal has lost in a Slam tournament against an Italian was in 2015.

The stage was the US Open, the round was the third and the executioner of the three-time champion was Fabio Fognini: 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 was the final result. The Italian from San Remo is the second player to have won two sets against the Iberian: the first was Roger Federer in Miami in 2005; the last one was Stefanos Tsistipas in 2021 at the Australian Open.

Nadal opens up on Raducanu

Rafael Nadal is of the opinion that Emma Raducanu is a great representative for tennis, and hopes that she can get back to her winning ways soon. "I'm not a big fan of giving advice, really. I think people close to [Emma Raducanu] usually have the best advice because they know her personal situation.

I've never had much interaction with her, but her triumph at the last US Open was impressive," Nadal said. "I watched the final and she played in a way that was hard to believe. From there, it's hard to deal with all that success at [such an early] point in your life, but I wish her all the best.

I think she is a great personality for our sport. She's having a tough year, but on the other hand she's already won a Grand Slam at a very early stage in her career, which I think will give her peace of mind to keep improving over time. I hope she gets more opportunities soon," Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal