Rafael Nadal claimed his 21st Major title at this year’s Australian Open. It was the first Melbourne crown for the Spaniard since 2009, suffering some tough losses in the middle and eventually going all the way again. One of those tough losses came in 2021 against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Nadal built a two-set-to-love lead before the Greek pulled off an incredible comeback to leave the legend empty-handed. Rafa injured his back in Adelaide a few weeks earlier and had to skip the ATP Cup ahead of the Australian Open.
The Spaniard didn’t know what to expect at the season-opening Major, but he got off to a great start. Nadal posted four straight-set wins to reach the quarterfinals without spending too much time on court. Rather than proceed to the semi-final, Rafa lost to Stefanos in five thrilling sets.
Tsitsipas put in a wonderful performance after the third set serve to post a 3-6 2-6 7-6 6-4 7-5 victory in four hours and five minutes. With his back against the wall, Stefanos controlled the pace of his service games in the third set and took the tie break 7-4.
Nadal made some hitting errors in the break, which cost him dearly, as he was unable to regain momentum in the rest of the clash. The pressure was on Rafa in sets four and five, and he couldn’t take it after losing the drive, receiving a break in each to hit the exit gate.
As the match progressed, Nadal lost a bit of rhythm with his groundstrokes and struggled on the return to put Stefanos in front. Simultaneously, Tsitsipas threw everything he had at his opponent, delivering one fine serve after another and completing the most notable victory of his career to advance to the second Australian Open semi-final in three years.
“Those were tough times. Before the Australian Open, I had to find solutions every day to play the tournament, and I did. It was not a bad result to reach the quarter-finals, but not as good as I would like.”
Rafa Nadal is a legend
Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal recently gave his views on his nephew’s new role as a parent.
“He will do this totally normally. He’s not a special guy, as all footballers and many others do this. When he first has to go to Australia, he will be hard to be away, but in the end it is the price you have to pay,” he said.
As per reports from Spain, Rafael Nadal and his wife Maria Francisca Perello, who were married in 2019, became parents to their first child – a boy, on Saturday, October 8, 2022.