Tennis

Spirited Nadal has refused to throw in the towel

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov.

If there were any lingering doubts remaining over Rafa Nadal's fitness and preparations for the Australian Open, the 35-year-old Spaniard dispelled them during his win over fellow left-hander Denis Shapovalov.

He is now unbeaten in nine matches, including his title run in a Melbourne tune-up. On Tuesday, he outlasted an opponent 13 years younger than him in a five-set battle of four hours and eight minutes. Nadal said he was "destroyed" and he welcomed the extra day's break before he meets Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the last-four stage on Friday. The Spaniard was severely dehydrated and lost almost four kilos.

"I don't think Rafa really knows how well prepared he is," said seven-time Major winner Mats Wilander.

"He comes to Australia, wins the first tournament, he doesn't really know how he is going to play best-of-five sets, doesn't really know how he is going to feel physically.

"But the one thing he has — he knows that whatever is in his bag, he is going to use not just every tactical tool, but emotionally be invested in every single decision."


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 7:09:41 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/spirited-nadal-has-refused-to-throw-in-the-towel/article38330652.ece