Rafa Roundup: Why does Rafael Nadal have tape on his stomach?

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Nadal said that the break in play in the fourth set benefitted him, but Wilander praised Nadal’s ability to get the job done on his worst surface, grass. The seven-time Grand Slam winner Wilander added that lower-ranked players see grass as a great equaliser against Nadal.

“He’s 36 years old; he has that tape on his abdominal muscle; he has the foot issue,” Wilander began.

“I think it’s good… to take a break [for the rain delay, but] to be able to come out and play this well and to win matches on probably his worst surface in many ways, even though he has won more Wimbledons than Australian Opens.Grass courts are a great equaliser for a lot of the lower-ranked players. I think they believe that they might have a small chance to beat even the greatest of all time.”

Nadal has been the subject of admiration from all corners of the tennis world, with many WTA players commending his legendary fighting spirit and his strong start to the 2022 season. World No. 1 Swiatek was on hand to see the Spaniard win the Australian Open final in January, and Nadal revealed he has been watching the Polish star throughout her 37-match win streak as well.

“I texted her a couple of times because it’s unbelievable the way that she’s playing,” Nadal said. “It’s unbelievable the way that she’s able to hold the concentration and the winning spirit for such a long time. I think it’s something very difficult to make that happen.”

“I always get intimidated by him just ’cause he’s Rafa. I remember at French Open, he, like, patted me on the back and said, ‘Good job.’ I remember responding so late, he was already down the hallway, and I said, ‘Thank you,’ because I was so shocked he actually said that to me!

“He’s one of those players on tour that you get star-strucked every time. Same with Nole, Roger. Even Serena and Venus to this day, I still get starstruck.

“Hearing that from him is pretty cool and I hope I can live up to that.”

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  1. I disagree with Mats Wilander. Grass isn’t Rafa’s worst surface, it’s indoor hard. On grass, he’s won; Queens Club (2008) Wimbledon (2008), the only other player to do the Roland Garros, Queens club, Wimbledon triple was Bjorn Borg; Wimbledon (2010) and Stuttgart (2015). It’s been a while since he won anything on grass, 7 years. His one and only indoor hard court victory was 2005, Madrid indoor hard, before everything was changed in 2008 and that event moved to Shanghai or Paris, don’t recall which one. But, 17 years since an indoor hard title. Indoor hard is his worst surface on the ATP tour, don’t know about Laver Cup, ATP Cup, Davis Cup or exhibition events stats.

    • So far Rafa looks like he is playing better than he has in his previous 2 matches. Let us hope this level continues. Vamos

  2. Rafa has been generous and supportive of other players such as Iga, who returns the favour. On the other
    hand, NK is fined only $10,000 for spitting while Covid is circulating. Hope players remain safe. We want
    normality in our lives, but let us not be delusional.

  3. Thanks Emily, I missed that on the broadcast.

    I also missed that Rafa said that the rain delay helped him. I was slightly surprised to hear it since Rafa was up 3-0 in the fourth set when the rains came.

    Vamos Rafa!

  4. On Twitter user Sharon posted that Darren Cahill explained it to viewers: “Switching to grass uses more stretch up on the serve and maybe Rafa had a little tightness. His tone was that this is normal, not unusual.

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