‘To suffer is the only way’ – Rafael Nadal displays champion mindset to reach Australian Open final
Rafael Nadal has fought so hard to reach his 29th Major final and sixth Down Under after being so close to not even playing the Australian Open.
The 20-time Major champion now has the chance to make it a men’s record 21 should he defeat either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final.
After ending his 2021 season in August due to the flair-up of a long-standing foot injury, few, including Nadal himself, would have expected the Spaniard to begin 2022 in the fashion he has.
The 35-year-old displayed great experience against 25-year-old Wimbledon 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini to win in four sets and progress to the championship match.
“I know how good Matteo is,” Nadal told Jim Courier in his post-match interview.
“He’s a very solid player, very dangerous.
“[After dropping the third set] yeah, we need to suffer, we need to fight in the fourth again.
“That’s the only way to be where I am today.
“Honestly, it means a lot for me to be in the final again here.”
Rafa’s uncle and long-time coach Toni Nadal recently revealed just how close his nephew was to not even travelling for the Australian Open, with the decision not certain until just days before the Spaniard flew Down Under.
With rain falling in Melbourne, the match with Berrettini was was played entirely under a closed roof on Rod Laver Arena, something that goes against Nadal’s preference for playing outside.
“As everybody knows, I am more of an outdoor than indoor player,” Nadal acknowledged.
“But the stadium looks amazing with the roof closed.
“I enjoyed the atmosphere a lot, I can’t complain at all.
“You know what, for a month and a half I didn’t if I would be able to play tennis so it doesn’t matter if it’s outdoors or indoors today.
“I just wanted to enjoy it and try my best.”
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