Rafael Nadal: 'For me, it's not playing pretty or...'

Rafael Nadal’s start to the season left everyone speechless

by Simone Brugnoli
Rafael Nadal: 'For me, it's not playing pretty or...'

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is one of those players that any top seed would want to avoid in the first round. The draw for the Hamburg European Open draw paired the Spaniard with the No.5 Botic Van de Zandschulp, who he outscored 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 30 minutes.

It was the third time they had measured their strength face to face. The ATP Head2Head was balanced until today, with a recent win for the Dutchman on the grass of Queen's last month. But on clay, specifically at Roland Garros in 2021, Davidovich had prevailed in three sets.

This time, clay was once again decisive for the Spaniard who equaled his record for most matches against top-ranked players in 2022 on this surface (4-4), including the one he achieved against No.1 Djokovic at the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo.

On the Central Court in Hamburg, Davidovich prevailed in a match in which up to ten breaks were recorded: four for the Dutchman and six for him. The 23-year-old Spaniard cleared this area of ​​the favourites, and his second-round opponent in Hamburg will emerge from the duel between Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalic and German wild card Max Hans Rehberg.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina got victory No. 60 of his career this Monday at the Hamburg European Open. The Spaniard has a match record of 60-61 on the ATP Tour. The Hamburg European Open features 32 top singles players and 16 doubles pairs and is one of 13 ATP 500 events on the calendar.

At 36, Rafael Nadal is still going strong and is expected to further improve his tally of a record 22 Grand Slam titles.

Rafa Nadal is still motivated

"Talent is something that I think people confuse a little bit," said Rafael Nadal.

"For me, it's not playing pretty or hitting the ball very hard. Some have the talent to hit hard, others to not miss any ball, some to make a great cut and others to move very well. But in tennis, as in all sports, the ultimate goal is to win.

Therefore, for me, the summary is clear: the one who wins is the one with the most talent." Additionally, Nadal stressed the importance of optimism in every situation, no matter how difficult it is, as the key to success.

"If I hadn't had people guiding me on the right path, maybe I wouldn't have had that spirit of perseverance and improvement. Despite the adversities, I have always had a good attitude and a positive spirit, and that is something that we try to pass on to the young people.

Because there will always be difficult moments, but the important thing is to accept them, work hard and look forward with optimism," the 36-year-old stated.

Rafael Nadal