‘I feel like Rafael Nadal had so many setbacks there’, says former ace

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Rafael Nadal could not have started the season better, having won the first 16 games played this year. The Spanish phenomenon won the Melbourne ATP 250, the Australian Open and the Acapulco ATP, leaving everyone speechless.

The Happy Slam triumph was nothing short of memorable, allowing him to overtake Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time Grand Slam standings. In a tournament that had often been hostile to him in the past, the 35-year-old from Manacor wrote one of the best pages of his entire career.


The Iberian is engaged this week in the Indian Wells Masters 1000, where he has just returned from a terrible battle against Sebastian Korda. The 21-time Grand Slam champion recovered an American double break in the deciding set, showing off-the-beaten-track resilience.

The 35-year-old Majorcan has won three times in the Californian desert, but his last seal dates back to 2013. In a long conversation on the Tennis Channel, Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas compared Rafa’s start of the season to that by Roger Federer in 2017.


Haas praises Rafa Nadal
“Yeah, it’s truly, truly incredible,” Tommy Haas said. “I had the chance to actually have dinner with Rafael Nadal the other night so I got a little bit more of the insights about his start to the season.

Kind of reminds me a little bit of you know, when Roger was injured for about six, seven months and he came back in 2017 and sort of you know, had a phenomenal start to the season when he won Australia, came here and to Miami to win that and then on to win Wimbledon.”

Rafael Nadal

During the conversation, Haas highlighted the uncertainty associated with Nadal ahead of the season. Not only did the southpaw suffer a potentially career-ending injury, but he also contracted COVID-19 last December. “I kind of have the same sense that when you are at this stage in your career after injury, not really knowing what it’s going to be like, you’re so happy, excited to be back and then winning the Australian Open again, getting to 21 after having so many you know, finals there as well that sort of didn’t go his way right – against Djoker, which at one time he was up 4-2 in the fifth set, against Roger 3-1 up in the fifth set, against Stan Wawrinka, who he has never lost to and he was injured in that final, so I feel like he had so many setbacks there,” Haas said.

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