'Rafael Nadal Has Got To Play Himself In', Says Former Ace

‘Rafael Nadal has to play himself,’ says former ace


Rafael Nadal’s nineteen-match winning streak at the Slams is yet to come to an end for all intents and purposes, as he was forced to miss the Wimbledon semi-final with an abdominal problem. The same, in essence, that prevented him from participating in the number one section of the mini-tournament on North American cement, in Montreal.

The Spanish champion, who after his defeat in his debut against Borna Coric in Cincinnati immediately moved to New York to start training, finally learned the name of his first-round rival and the hypothetical path to the 23rd Slam and the first place in the ranking.

Despite the various coincidences (they could even afford to fall in the first round if the four pursuers do not reach the quarterfinals), the Spanish champions are confident that their destiny is in their own hands. It is not a small luxury.

After a fairly accessible first round against the Australian Hijikata, the Spaniard could face Fabio Fognini again on the concrete of Flushing Meadows. The previous one, in 2015, was unforgettable, with the Italian able to recover from two sets and a break before heroically winning the first set.

Only Federer (in Miami, in 2004) had achieved a similar feat. In short: Fognini or Aslan Karatsev, a far from obvious rival for the Italian tennis player, who in New York has never made it past the fourth round cut. The way is more or less paved, at least until the round of 16: in theory, the worst possible opponent in the third round could be Miomir Kecmanovic, while in the quarterfinals he could face Diego Schwartzman.

Nadal is 19-0 in Majors this year

Mark Knowles said on Tennis Channel that Rafael Nadal’s experience in the Major Leagues could serve him well, especially if he survives the early rounds, where he is most vulnerable on hard courts.

«Rafael Nadal knows how to win Majors. He has a big draw early. The only time Rafa gets into trouble on hard court is early. I like his chances. He has to play himself,» he said. «He has Alcaraz possibly if they both go to the semifinals, I’m going to go with experience,» Knowles said.

«Medvedev has a tough draw, depending on what happens in the Nick Kyrgios section. I’m going with Rafael Nadal on the men’s side.» Nadal is 19-0 in Majors this year, winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

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