McEnroe: “All of a sudden things have fallen into place for Rafa who has to be the humblest, classiest champion of almost any athlete I’ve ever seen in any sport. It’s well-deserved for a guy to do this like Rafa Nadal, you can see how much it meant to him to get to the finals again.”
Becker: “What a legend of our sport. Two months ago it was uncertain whether he would be able to continue playing at all after his serious ankle operation – and then he comes to Australia and plays his best tennis. I don’t think Nadal was thinking about his 21st Grand Slam title before the semi-final. He is more relaxed about it than Novak Djokovic.
“He says, I’m happy that I still can play tennis and that I’m in the final in Australia. But that will change now. Rafa has two nights before the final and he will be thinking about the 21. However, Rafa is an absolute superstar and will be able to handle it.”
- Berrettini: ‘I Will Learn From Rafa Defeat’ | ATP Tour
With 20 Grand Slam titles under his belt, Nadal is an obvious role model for Berrettini in his pursuit for further success. “Just look at the numbers,” said 2021 Wimbledon finalist Berrettini. “I don’t know how many semi-finals Rafa has played, but I know that he has more experience in this.
“We chatted a little bit in the locker room. He told me that it was a great run, and I told him again, bravo. It’s just really nice for me to talk to him and have this kind of conversation, because I’m still learning from him, and it’s good.”
Rafa was crying in his hand trying to hide it. You could see how much this meant to him. We heard him say: “I wasn’t sure if I was able to play tennis again.” You could see that come pouring out of him. I love the match he played.Lindsay Davenport
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