- ‘He has the whole alphabet’ – Spaniard’s ability to evolve and game intelligence hailed | Yahoo Sports
Carlos Moya: “What Rafa is looking for is to be competitive and continue to evolve. It is true that over time you lose physique, speed or explosiveness, but you are smarter and handle situations better.
“I always said that Rafa is one of the most intelligent players on the court, one of those who read the games best, the one who is most suited to having a Plan B, a Plan C…
“I would tell you that he has the whole alphabet. If he sees that the rival has a crack or the smallest gap through which he can enter, he sees it, reads it and gets it.
“The (Australian Open) final is a clear example: it starts badly but then it changes, little by little. That is the adrenaline that he has inside, to see that he can still fight with the best in the world.”
- ‘I thought it was a video game!’ – Roland Garros icon in awe of Rafael Nadal Australian Open level | tennishead.net
Yannick Noah himself retired at 35 in 1997, the same age that Nadal is now having just won a record 21st Major title and still ranked within the ATP top 10.
“I don’t know, 35, so obviously that captures the imagination,” the Frenchman said on the Super Moscato ShowIt is extraordinary. At his age, I could no longer walk. He physically dominates the guys, I find that extraordinary,” Noah said on podcast The Super Moscato Show.
“The level of play at the end of the final, I wondered if it was not PlayStation.
“It was amazing.”
- Rafael Nadal: Did somebody say icon? | Roland Garros
It was at a gala match in Majorca back in 2001, featuring Pat Cash (Wimbledon champion in 1987) and Boris Becker, that the future champion first stepped into the spotlight. Becker withdrew from the match due to injury. The organisers decided to replace him with the local tennis star, Rafa, who was aged 14 at the time. The Australian former champion was defeated by the young Nadal, who that day gave a glimpse of his immense potential.
“My wife was cheering for Medvedev, my son was cheering for Nadal and every point that Rafa would make, Stefan would be jumping around.”
He added: “He asked me a few days ago when I was putting him to sleep: ‘When is the next tournament that you are going to participate and play where Rafa is going to be also?’
“I said: ‘I’m not sure, I hope very soon, why are you asking me that?’ And he said: ‘Because I would really love to take a photo with Rafa!’
“We’ll arrange that, I’m sure.”
- Toni Nadal believes that Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic may struggle to win many more majors | Eurosport
“As for Rafael, obviously, he has also had to change things, but I think that is what all those who stay at the top for a long time do. It’s impossible to stay on top if you are not constantly reconfiguring yourself. He [Rafa] has changed, like Federer. If you can’t run as much you know you have to shorten the points. The level of Rafael’s game between 2008 and 2010 was very high. Today he has a little less physicality, as is to be expected, but his game is more complete, he now serves much better.
“Despite all that Nadal has achieved, Toni said that he would “never say of a family member that he is a genius”.
- Rafael Nadal ‘in the mood’ for the clay-court season after his Australian Open triumph – Alex Corretja | Eurosport
Eurosport’s Corretja said: “After he won in Australia I think Rafa is in the mood, he’s feeling so fresh and so ready to go and enter the clay-court season. He’s someone with a lot of power, a lot of confidence. I don’t think he’s going to look at Novak’s position. Because he knows that on clay he’s the toughest guy to beat.”
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