After a prolonged campaign on clay and a tough loss at Roland Garros to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, Rafael Nadal felt he needed more time to rest before their next matches. The 20-time Major winner decided to skip Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, stay home in Mallorca and prepare for the North American hard court tour.
Rafa will return to action in Washington the first week of August and will enter the Canadian Open a week later, seeking the third consecutive crown in this event. Nadal was the player to beat in Toronto and Montreal in 2018 and 2019, hoping for another h*t streak in a month.
In 2010, Nadal lost to Andy Murray in the semifinal in Toronto, and did not play in that city until 2018. He came back strong as no. 1, Nadal secured the 33rd Masters 1000 crown and his 80th ATP title following a 6-2, 7-6 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.
The young Greek beat four top-10 rivals to enter the title clash, becoming the youngest player to win as many consecutive wins over the exclusive group's players. Tsitsipas gave his best in the second set against Nadal, recovering a break and creating a set point on the return of game 12.
Rafa lost ground in the final stages of the match despite a pearless performance before serving for the victory at 5-4 when Tsitsipas drew back to extend the encounter and nearly send it into a decider. In the end, the Spaniard survived the twelfth game and secured the tiebreak 7-4 to lift his 19th ATP title in tough form and the first since the 2018 US Open.
Rafa can't wait to compete in Toronto again, praising the event and looking forward to chasing the third consecutive Canadian Open crown. For the past 16 years, three names have dominated world tennis. Famously known as The ‘Big 3’ (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic), they continue to be at the heart of every conversation.
As 1/3 of the ‘Big 3’, Novak Djokovic won his 6th Wimbledon title on Sunday, and he has brought the greats once again into the limelight.
Alex Corretja on the Big 3
Throughout the competition, Novak Djokovic ran riot on the court.
With each game, he got only better and closer to the impossible, five-o dream. The Serbian’s legendary run of form caught the eye of a fellow legend. Former World No. 2, Alex Corretja, believes Novak is ready to beat the highest of records and become the greatest of all time.
“There he showed me that he was ready to be the best player in history,” the Spaniard said. Novak Djokovic walked into Wimbledon, having just won the French Open 2021. The opponent he defeated on his way to glory was current World No.
2 Rafael Nadal. Impressed by that victory, Corettja said, “The best match of the year was the one where Djokovic beat Nadal at Roland Garros. We grew up watching [Bjorn] Borg, [John] McEnroe, [Ivan] Lendl, [Mats] Wilander and none of them won 10 Grand Slams.
We thought it would be impossible to overtake Sampras with 14. This generation (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) is unique,” Alex said.