Always so fair play, the Spaniard repackaged his pains and quickly chased away the bitterness of the defeat in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open against Stefanos Tsitsipas. Decided to “try to be better next time.”
He has long been in control. A habit. He held the game with a firm hand. Then the course of the meeting suddenly escaped him during the tie break of 3e set. Evoking in a press conference the turning point of the lost match 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 7-5 in 4:05 against Stefanos Tsitsipas (n ° 5), Rafael Nadal underlined , without particularly insisting, this decisive game (marked by two failed smashes): “It was a bit of everything, right? I missed a few balls in the tie-break that I must not miss if I want to win. And that’s all. I think Stefanos played a great fourth and fifth set. I was there. I played a few bad matches. Well done to him. He probably played better than me in the important moments. ”
Rafael Nadal remains (for now) blocked with 20 Grand Slam titles. Like Roger Federer. A neighbor to compensate for whom he could not steal a record, this Wednesday in Melbourne. In the race for records between him and the Swiss (and Novak Djokovic) each tournament brings its share of anecdotes. By losing the 3e set in the tie break against Stefanos Tsitsipas, Rafael Nadal saw his series of sets won consecutively in the Grand Slam (7 matches at Roland Garros, plus 4 at the Australian Open and 2 sets against Tsitsipas) stop at 35. Has a set of the record held by Roger Federer (36).
At the end of a tournament where he had to deal with back pain, the Spaniard (seeded n ° 2) turned the page without feeling sorry or looking for excuses (“no problem with my back”) , before explaining, “I’m not the guy who is going to make excuses about this or who will complain. I have never considered myself to be an unlucky person. It doesn’t matter what injuries I’ve had. I think I am a very lucky person ”.
“We must be grateful to life that we can continue to do what we are doing”
And to insist: “Everyone has what they deserve. I got what I deserved in my career and here in Australia I had opportunities, but I couldn’t take them. That’s all. I didn’t deserve more. It’s sad. I lost in the quarterfinals of an event that is close to my heart. The Australian Open is without a doubt one of my favorite events. So I missed an opportunity to find myself in the semi-finals. That’s all. You just have to accept and continue. It’s life.” Melbourne (1 title in 2009, 4 unfortunate finals in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019) comes after Roland-Garros (100 wins-2 losses), the Grand Slam tournament in which he won the most matches (69 wins-14 losses), ahead of the US Open (64) -11) and Wimbledon (53-12).
So Nadal (34) did Nadal. Given 100%. “I did my best every moment. With the right attitude. I never complained (smiling), even in the most difficult times. I just tried, I think I stayed positive the whole time during the game, fighting. And it was not enough. I was in great shape before I got here. Then I was a little miserable about what happened for 20 days, and then I fought to play decent tennis. It was not enough. I was close. This is tennis. That’s all. This is sport. One player wins, the other loses. I lost. So the only thing I can do is try to be better next time. ”
As for the rest of the season with blurred outlines due to the health crisis, Rafael Nadal assured: “Unless I’m mistaken, there are no tournaments where we are forced to go through forty in the coming months. We probably need to find a way to protect player rankings, so that we don’t force them to play over and over. I believe it 100%, because the situation is very complicated for some players, depending on their country of origin. We have to find solutions and adapt to these very complicated times. But we are not the only ones concerned, it is the whole world. We are here to find solutions. And we have to be thankful that life can keep doing what we’re doing. ” Nadal, elegant even in defeat. Incomparable champion on the court and behind the scenes.