Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2022

‘It’s massive’ – Three-time Australian Open champion reveals factor that gives Rafael Nadal the edge

Mats Wilander has touted just how intimidating Rafael Nadal can be for other players in stature only following the Spaniard’s first round Australian Open victory. 

The 20-time Slam champion defeated world number 66 Marcos Giron in straight sets and for the loss of just seven games 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 to progress at the first Slam of 2022.

Now Wilander, himself a seven-time Major winner, has given his view that Nadal often has his opponents on the back foot even before the match begins.

“I think [players’ confidence] is lost in the locker room, I really do,” Wilander said on Eurosport after Nadal’s win.

“For Rafa [Nadal], the difference is he has not won it in the locker room. He comes out and he plays you.

“And you find out in the first 10 minutes “oh, oh my goodness, I’m going to have to do this for how many hours?”

“I think the intimidation factor in the locker room is massive, because Rafa in the locker room is on fire.”

Nadal kicked off his 2022 season in style by claiming an 89th career tour title at the ATP 250 Melbourne Summer Set.

That triumph meant the world number six claimed a new ATP record for most consecutive seasons with at least one tour level title.

While his win over Giron was emphatic on the scoreboard, Nadal admitted that he is still tentative of his foot injury and must “go day by day.”

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