'Rafael Nadal keeps a humbleness and a cockiness at...', says legend
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 2504
Rafael Nadal surprised everyone in 2022 by winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros, two authentic feats considering that the Spaniard had only played seven official tournaments the previous year. The Spanish star did not shine in the second half of the season, also due to the usual physical problems.
After relieving the pain in his foot with the help of Dr. Cotorro, the former ATP number 1 suffered an abdominal tear at Wimbledon. In addition to not being able to play the Championship semifinal against Nick Kyrgios, Rafa showed up at the US Open in less than optimal conditions.
His New York run was cut short in the round of 16 at the hands of local favorite Frances Tiafoe, who prevailed in four sets at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The 22-time Slam champion dropped out early at both Paris-Bercy and the ATP Finals in Turin, before flying to South America for a series of exhibitions.
2023 did not start in the best way for the Spaniard, who bowed to Cameron Norrie and Alex De Miñaur in the United Cup. In a press conference during the ATP in Pune, Botic Van De Zandschulp urged fans and insiders not to underestimate Nadal.
"Rafael Nadal is a legend of the sport and he should never be left for dead. I faced him at Roland Garros 2022 and it was a memorable experience", declared Van de Zandschulp. 'It's not the best of life to face him on the red clay of Paris, which is a bit like his second home.
There he expressed the best tennis of his career. We also met at Wimbledon and it was a different match. In London I played much better and even had the opportunity to take the match to the fourth set."
Rafa Nadal is unique
In a recent interview, John McEnroe mentioned that despite his constant injury setbacks, Rafael Nadal still has the hunger to succeed in the sport.
"The greatest single quality an athlete can have is that hunger, and no matter how successful you are, just being willing to do the hard yards and the work it requires to even give yourself a chance, and Rafa does that better than anyone.
He keeps a humbleness and a cockiness at the same time, which is a tricky thing to maneuver, and he does an incredible job of that. You do believe with him that he’ll do anything and everything to get back and give himself that chance, and there are very few players you can say that about, that’s why there's so much respect for Rafa," he added.