Speaking to Eurosport, John McEnroe praised the tenacity of the 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, who got the 17th Slam semifinal of his career after the 5-sets-wins against Denis Shapovalov in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open 2022, on the Rod Laver Arena.
McEnroe said: "I think Rafael Nadal's choice to come to Australia very soon was spot on. After testing positive for Coronavirus, many believed that he would give up the Australian Open. Having played at the Melbourne ATP and getting used to this heat proved crucial against Denis Shapovalov."
The American drew an interesting parallel: "I think Rafa's situation is quite similar to Roger Federer's one in 2017. He too had returned from a long hiatus and had brought home several battles along the way.
Nadal has the ability to extrapolate the most out of every situation he finds himself in. It is not a quality that can be taught. Shapovalov had the game in hand at one point, but the Spaniard has leveled up at the right moments.
The Canadian must understand that he needs a further leap in mental quality to get to the top."
Rafael Nadal beat Denis Shapovalov in five sets to qualify for the semi-finals of the Australian Open 2022.
After dominating the first two halves, the Spanish phenomenon suffered a sudden physical decline combined with some stomach problems. The Canadian managed to take the contest to the deciding set, but was not cool enough in the highlight.
'Shapo' gave up his serve at the start of the fifth fraction and had to surrender under the blows of the Majorcan. The 35-year-old Iberian will face Matteo Berrettini on Friday for a place in the final in Melbourne.
The two faced each other only once, at the 2019 US Open, with Rafa coming out victorious in three sets. The former world number 1 is chasing the 21st Grand Slam of his formidable career, which would allow him to overtake Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings. A foot injury limited Nadal to just seven official tournaments in 2021, but the Lion of Manacor didn't give up.