‘Rafael Nadal can do that again next year,’ says analyst

Rafael Nadal claimed two Australian Open titles in 2009 and 2022. The Spaniard lost four Melbourne finals in between, including an epic one against Novak Djokovic in 2012. The two legends battled for five hours and 53 minutes before Novak reached the top.

5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 and 7-5, lifting the trophy in the longest Major final in history. Nadal and Casper Ruud are in Buenos Aires, starting their South American tour. The young Norwegian spoke about the 2012 Australian Open final and said that he was probably more broken than Rafa when the Spaniard lost, sitting in front of the television for six hours.

Nadal was Ruud’s idol and he wanted to see him win the title. Rafa enjoyed this conversation and joked asking Novak Djokovic to send him the trophy. Rafa gave it his all to overcome Novak in the fourth set and force a decider.

Fueled by this momentum, the Spaniard carved out a 4-2, 30-15 lead in the final set before missing a routine backhand that likely cost him his second Australian Open title. Djokovic created 20 break chances, converting seven and dropping serve four times.

The Serb had more winners and forced more errors, carving out victory in the mid-distance exchanges as nothing could separate them on the longer, faster rallies. They needed 40 minutes to complete the first six games.

Nadal led 4-2 before Djokovic claimed the next three games to open a gap to 5-4. The Spaniard got another break at 5-5 when Novak sent a long backhand and converted his third set point into his next for 7-5 after one hour and 20 minutes.

Novak responded with a break in game 10 of the second set after a costly double fault from Rafa.

Oddo comments on Nadal

Speaking on Tennis Channel’s Inside-In podcast recently, sportswriter Chris Oddo reflected on Rafael Nadal’s season, saying that if he can find his best fitness level in 2023, he’ll be the player to beat.

“We forget Rafa because not much has happened for him late, injuries caught up with him, he became a father and a lot of things happened. But two Slams at the beginning of the year and I think he showed me and what I think will continue to be true in the The future is if Rafa can find a way to get that diesel engine going and get to his best physical condition where he’s comfortable with the surface, where he’ll play, he’ll get a little bit of anticipation, his body isn’t giving him any problems, if he reaches At his peak, he can beat anyone and deal damage.

You can do it again next year. I think it’s going to be harder for him to get to that peak fitness, but if he has it and is thriving in his body, he can be the best,” Oddo said.

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