Animal, magnificent… I no longer know what is the best adjective to define Reef Nadal. But this Friday was not one of the toughest semi-finals, it was not one of the toughest semi-finals he has had in his career. Yes, he was demanding in the sense of his own doubts about how much his physique could withstand and or prevent pain, but not at the tennis level. Nadal is much better than Mateo Berrettini, which has a small hole in the back within its extraordinary plane. Against lower-ranked players he may not be accused, but against the top ten and especially against a very constant left-hander like Rafa, who insists with his right cross, he is a burden. As Rafa himself says, Berrettini will win a lot of things, but to play against him he needs to improve.
Rafa came out very strong, dominant, with very clear ideas. And it came out perfectly. The first set was very important. He knew that if he kept out physically, the match was his. He lost the third, yes, but it’s common in equal duels: if you do not throw in the towel, you usually take the third. The Italians have taken more risks, which may work in one set, but in five it is very difficult. I do not think Nadal has ever doubted.
A bit academic, but effective
will be something else Daniil Medwedef. Of all the young people who strive to leave behind the era that is dominated Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the Russian is the best today. Any of the others have a soft spot like Berretini, but Medvedev does not. His game is not the most academic (his way of being too) and sometimes he does strange things: a second stronger than the first, incomprehensible mistakes… but his level is maximum. He is not only a champion of the future, but of the present. I love it. The Rod Laver Arena crowd might go along with Nadal, but you never know, maybe it will make him play better. The Russian already deprived Djokovic of his 21st Grand Slam at the US Open in September and he will not feel the pressure to play a final of this caliber.
I see the final at 50%. Nadal has a very tough game ahead of him, though Medvedev too. Rafa is not going to throw in the towel. This is a contradiction, but even though Rafa ensures that he is kept with tweezers and that he is no longer 23 years old, the longer the match, the better for him. Let’s hope the physique lasts. He had a less demanding semi-final, I think he will reach the final at 95 or 100%, so I have in my heart the hope that he will King of Kings.
The best in history
For Nadal, as for Djokovic and Federer, being the player with the most Grand Slams in history sure it’s important. If he does not succeed, he will not lose sleep, but he will fight for it. If Rafa wins in Melbourne, the Swiss is certainly no longer enough for him. And then Roland Garros would come, where the Mallorcan would have options to get two ahead. These types of champions no longer think about money, but rather about personal challenges. Surely in their environment they comment on it and they will fight for it.