Rafa Roundup: Another record awaits Rafael Nadal

Photo: Carlos Alcaraz


If you’re an NBA fan of a certain age, watching Nadal this season will bring back memories of watching Michael Jordan in the latter stages of his career. He couldn’t dunk from the foul line or score 63 points in a play-off game anymore, but none of his younger opponents knew as much about how to win as he did.

The torch of Spanish tennis, and willful exuberance, won’t be passed in one match. For tennis fans, the longer it takes, and the more we get to see Nadal and Alcaraz striving as hard as they can as opponents and colleagues, the better.

While Alcaraz has built a 10-match winning streak, it pales in comparison to Nadal’s 19-0 record in 2022 – his best ever start to a season.

The fact he has notched such a milestone at age 35 is all the more astonishing, and now, after hoisting trophies at the Melbourne Summer Set, Australian Open and Acapulco, he is targeting a fourth career title at Indian Wells.

Will Nadal improve his record to a sparkling 20-0? Or will Alcaraz earn a statement victory to continue his own upward trajectory?

“I am super happy. He is going to be a great rival for now and for the next couple of months, without a doubt,” Nadal said. “But thinking and being selfish, it’s great. To have such a star from my country [is amazing]. It is fantastic for the tennis lovers and he’s a countryman and he’s a great guy. I like him. I wish him all the very best. Probably not on Saturday when he plays against me, but in general.”

“When I am upset or lose my concentration, I say, I am not this kind of guy [who gets upset]. I like to be positive, not negative. Not just on the tennis court, in my normal life too.”

“So, of course, I remember that match and for a moment it was unplayable, but was not my job to stop that. It was the referee’s job to stop this atmosphere that was making it impossible to play tennis in that moment,” he said. “But then I think we stopped for light or rain, I don’t know, and then we come back the next day. But I just tried to do the things that help me to keep going.”

Is there are young player out there that you see some of yourself in?

Monika Seles: “No, because I truly believe we’re such individuals. In terms of my playing style, it was so unique, with two hands on both sides, a lefty, I mean, just totally unorthodox. But in terms of being competitive and just looking at one ball at a time, I’d probably have to say Nadal, because we both have that mindset that when we step on the court, we don’t pay attention to what’s happening off the court. When I watch him, I’m like, “Oh, boy, I was like that!” Any version you are, as long as you’re staying true to yourself and you put the absolute maximum effort out there when you step on the court, and you compete hard and fair, if I was coaching somebody, that’s all I could ask.”

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  1. Wow! What a match. Alcaraz is truly special…

    But our Rafa stepped up when it counted to get over the finish line.

    Well done champ!

  2. Rafa having a rough day at the office. It’s as if he’s playing his younger self:)

    Stay sharp and get this done champ!

  3. Rafa seems to have chilled after the 1st couple of games. It’s calmed me down too. C’mon Rafa – i dont really want to see the changing of the guard just yet.

  4. Of course Carlos is such a great player but I think he hasn’t been enough tested at this tournament so far. Rafa knows it very well and I’m sure he will find Carlos weakness in the game. But no matter of the result whatever Rafa does until the rest of the season, I’m super happy with his Australian Open title and still telling myself how lucky I’m to be his fan. He has won already three titles. Each win is just extra joy for me.

  5. Buena suerte to the best of the best of the best, in life, heart, and on the tennis court. You’re pure class Rafa.

  6. Rafa, watch out for those drop shots from Carlos in the crucial moments. Do your thing and do it well. With you all the way champ!

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