Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2022

‘Worst shape in 20 years’ – famed coach ‘surprised’ by Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open fitness

Patrick Mouratoglou was ‘surprised’ by how Rafael Nadal struggled for fitness in his Australian Open win, saying he felt ‘he looked really tired.”

After storming his way to the Australian Open final, Nadal succumbed to a two set deficit against top seeded player Daniil Medvedev. However, Nadal battled back to overturn the arrears and beat US Open victor and World number two Medvedev.

This was particularly impressive considering now 21-time Grand Slam titlist Nadal had been absent for the past five months as he recovered from a foot injury.

This was the first time newly-crowned ‘Happy Slam’ champion Nadal had ever comeback from two sets behind in a Grand Slam final.

Nadal’s win means he is now ahead of Swiss maestro Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the total Slam tally as both hold 20 Slams each.

Federer was side-lined as he recovers from a third knee surgery, whilst Djokovic was deported just one day before the Slam got underway.

Mouratoglou, who currently coaches Serena Williams, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Cori Gauff, said “I think everybody saw [predicted] him lose this match. He was dominated. He was extremely nervous. He was missing much more than usual.

“I think everybody will agree that his number one quality is resilience and love for the fight. He loves the fight.

“He loves when it’s tough, when most of the players don’t like those moments. He loves them. That’s where he feels alive and himself, and that made his career.

“What surprised me a lot in that final is Nadal’s physical shape. What we have seen so far during the tournament from him was one of the worst shapes he has shown so far in the last 20 years,” the French coach claimed.

“He looked really tired. I thought that physicality would play a big role in that match, and Rafa had to win the first sets. And actually, the opposite happened.

“The fact that he won points in a situation in which Medvedev was supposed to win them, because he just had one shot and he ended up losing them, made him doubt a lot.

“So that was a turning point for me, the key, to bring Medvedev in a situation in which he was uncomfortable, to make him miss kind of easy shots. That hurts a lot.

“I think it was some kind of turning point because he made Daniil doubt a lot when he was so close to the net and it affected Daniil’s game.

“At the end, it was Daniil who needed a massage, and Rafa not at all,” Mouratoglou concluded.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.