Rafael Nadal - Roland Garros 2022

Rafael Nadal claims he is ‘more unpredictable for opponents’ in 2024

Rafael Nadal has won three consecutive matches for the first time since the 2022 US Open, with the Spaniard detailing how he is feeling physically after beating Pedro Cachin in Madrid.

Nadal beat the Argentine, 6-1 6(5)-7 6-3, in his longest match of the clay court season so far lasting over three hours.

When speaking to press after the match, Nadal suggested that he was feeling relatively good, but did not want to make any confirmations about his participation in the fourth round.

“It’s positive, because as I said in Spanish, now I don’t feel that something went wrong on my body, but I need to wait until tomorrow, being 100 percent honest,” explained Nadal.

He continued, “In Brisbane, after the match with Jordan Thompson, I felt something there, but I hoped in the press conference I had the faith that nothing wrong happened but then (it) happened, you know. Then when I wake up (the next day), the day after, my feelings were not the way that I really thought that could be. So I needed to do all the process, the MRI, and it showed I have a small tear there.

“I don’t have that negative feeling now like I had in that moment, but nobody knows what can happen during the night and how I wake up tomorrow morning. And that’s the (truth). I’m not saying that because trying to protect myself. I am talking with my heart and saying exactly the feelings that I have right now. Let’s wait for tomorrow. I hope nothing happens, and I hope to be on court tomorrow.”

Nadal suffered an early exit last week in Barcelona at the hands of Alex de Minaur, who he went onto enact revenge over in the second round of the Madrid Open.

And the 22-time Grand Slam champion has revealed that he wouldn’t have been able to have this run in Madrid had he put full effort against the Australian in Barcelona.

“I had issues all the time, so I was not able to have three hours’ practices or something like this to protect my body for these matches,” said the 37-year-old. “So, I mean, it’s unpredictable. That’s it. And you need to accept the unpredictable things today. I need to accept that.

“Last week we didn’t accept that, because I was not ready to fight for the(second) set with Alex (in Barcelona), and I think was the right decision because today I’m able to be here. If I probably fought in the (whole) match, I would not be here.”

Nadal added, “But today of course we need to start trying what’s going on, and that’s what I’m doing. Trying without doing crazy things but trying, and tomorrow let’s see.”

The Mallorcan will look to reach his 15th quarter-final in the Spanish capital tomorrow, when he takes Jiri Lehecka.

Lehecka and Nadal practiced together last week, with the Czech youngster coming out on top, and the five-time Madrid Open champion has revealed that he is hoping for a better outcome this time out.

“I hope [to do better], because I lost,” responded Nadal. “But I don’t know. Let’s see. I cannot predict what’s going on tomorrow, what can happen tomorrow, what level I gonna show tomorrow.”

Nadal concluded, “I am more unpredictable than what I used to be. I used to be not very unpredictable player. I used to be more or less predictable player because I have been very regular in terms of emotionally talking and in terms of level talking of tennis. Building every day a little bit better but more or less stable, no? There is difference. I am more unpredictable for the opponents but especially for myself.”

Inside the baseline…

Rafael Nadal has really exceeded many expectations this week, especially with his victory over world No.11 Alex de Minaur in the second round. On paper Pedro Cachin is a much more beatable opponent than De Minaur, but in some ways it is more impressive for him to come through a three hour match after such a lengthy period of fitness struggles.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.