Rafa Roundup: ‘Nadal is an amazing champion,’ says Smyczek

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

ARTICLES:

Nadal dropped just seven games as he breezed past the experienced Russian on Rod Laver Arena on Monday in the first round. However, he insisted it is going to take more matches before he will feel comfortable on the court again.

Rafa’s back. Gracing Rod Laver Arena in a blur of neon pink and green, a human highlighter, the 2009 Australian Open champion produced his first win at a Grand Slam in over six months, beating Mikhail Youzhny 6-3 6-2 6-2. And it was a pleasure to see. … Dropping just four more games for the rest of the match, the world No.3 finished with 89 per cent first serves won, 78 per cent returns made, 37 winners, just 15 unforced errors and just one break point faced.

Better on every dimension, Nadal won 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, reminding us of just how devastatingly well he can play. Thus is what we forget about Nadal. He may be incapable of playing a full season. But when he’s healthy, he doesn’t take much for him to find his form. Even he struggled to temper his excitement afterwards.

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

If Rafael Nadal needed any reminding of how long it has been since he won the Australian Open, he only needed to look at the “09” on the back of his left shoe.

He’s an amazing champion, and he’ll go down as one of the greatest tennis players ever, so it’s going to be really a treat for me, and I’m going to try to squeeze every bit of fun I can out of it.” Was it more Nadal’s achievements or his character that he admired? “Both,” Smyczek said. “He’s one of the nicest guys in the locker room. He’ll always say hello to you, and he just seems like a really good guy, and obviously it’s hard to argue with his achievements, however many French Opens he’s won.”

Nadal’s uncle and coach, Toni, joked that the racket would give him an edge. “Sometimes when I correct Rafa on how he’s hitting the ball, he doesn’t agree.” said Toni. “Now I have the data.” Nadal retorted, without missing a beat, “Now he has the data to know that he was wrong.

‘I don’t think many men could pull off this pink reflector,” the commentator told Nadal, drawing stadium-wide laughter as he pointed out the neon pink stripe down the side of Nadal’s white shorts. Nadal joined the laughter, saying these were his ”party” shorts for the past couple of months during his time off.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

PHOTOS:

VIDEOS:

5 comments

  1. “What A Difference Nadal Makes”

    to the tune of What A Difference A Day Makes

    What a difference Nadal makes…..
    Tennis’ unforgettable hours
    This sport he so fully empowers
    Sets Nadal’s kingly reign.

    Vamos Rafa !
    Sally
    Haifa, Israel

Leave a Reply to Chandra Ramdass Cancel reply