Rafael Nadal has had a tough season in 2021. The Spaniard is out of the top spots for the first time in two years and has only played two matches since Roland Garros. The king of clay lost the Roland Garros trophy to Novak Djokovic, whose most famous title was won a few weeks ago at the Foro Italico.
Rafa could have faced an early exit at the Rome Masters when he faced Denis Shapovalov in the third round. The Canadian defeated the Spaniard as a junior in 2017 at his home in Montreal. Four years later, he had a great opportunity to repeat in the capital of Italy.
Shapovalov squandered two match points in the 12th game of the decider; He suffered a heartbreaking 3-6 6-4 7-6 defeat after a grueling three hours and 27 minutes. Unsurprisingly, Dennis admits it was a tough loss to accept. However, he was not surprised by the result and Nadal’s fighting spirit; He said he had done it many times in the past against different opponents.
Praising the Spaniard, the Canadian said Rafa played at a high level when it mattered most to avoid defeat. The young man was pleased with his performance and said that he would fall asleep knowing that he had done all that.
Dennis hit 40 winners and 45 unforced errors, playing good tennis and meeting Rafa in the short and medium distance exchanges. Nadal did not play well in the first set, suffered three breaks and found himself 3-0 in the second set.
Facing elimination, Rafa won six of the next seven games to turn the tables and force the decider. On the restart, Shapovalov built a short-lived 3-1 lead to extend Nadal’s battle after the break.
Mouratoglou talks about Nadal
Patrick Mouratoglou recently took to Instagram to explain three changes Rafael Nadal has made to his game over the years. “In 2005, Rafael Nadal won his first Grand Slam title.
Standing far behind the tee, he came up with his own unique style of play, adding crazy spin to every shot. In this game, he became the king of clay, “Mouratoglou, “Now, he is not only a clay specialist. He is leading the competition in winning Grand Slams.
How do I adapt to win the game on fast pitches?” According to the Frenchman, the 35-year-old is looking to keep his rallies as short as possible to save energy. .
“At the beginning of his career, he won games by forcing long rallies from the baseline,” said Mouratoglou.