Rafael Nadal won three of the previous four Majors and moved one step closer to completing a career Grand Slam at the age of 22 as he won his lone Australian Open championship in 2009! Nadal started off better in Melbourne, defeating three opponents outside the top-70 in straight sets to advance to the round of 16. However, he was defeated by Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals of the Doha tournament.
The Spaniard advanced significantly closer the trophy by defeating Fernando González, the world’s No. 14 player and a past finalist, in the fourth round, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. In the quarterfinals, Nadal defeated Gilles Simon 6-2, 7-5, 7-5, and went on to defeat Fernando Verdasco in the Spanish semifinal.
After five hours and ten minutes, Rafa won 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 in what turned out to be one of Melbourne Park’s most remarkable matches. Verdasco only had four break chances but Nadal had one extra point in his favor, served brilliantly, and was broken twice.
Verdasco gave it his all to keep pace with the top-ranked player in the world, turning down 16 of 20 break opportunities and taxing Rafa to the breaking point. The older Spaniard outperformed Rafa in the longer rallies but fell behind by up to four strokes in the shorter ones, hitting more than 60 unforced errors and less than 100 game winners.
Rafa restarted the match in the decider, barely losing a point after the first stroke, applying pressure on Fernando, and securing a break at 5-4 after a double fault from his rival to progress to the championship match.
Despite having little left in his legs, Nadal had to go another marathon to win the championship.
Rafa Nadal is praised by John McEnroe.
John McEnroe distills a number of distinct viewpoints while on “tour” for a few weeks in support of the premiere of his documentary, which is already playing in cinemas across the Channel.
The American extols Rafael Nadal‘s tenacity and attitude once more on the website Tennis365. He is unlike anyone I’ve ever seen. Before I watched Rafael Nadal, I felt Jimmy Connors was making an effort. That is absurd.
And by a wide margin, that is his best characteristic. We all know what a great player the guy is. People aspire to be like him, but it’s very difficult to do, John McEnroe said. He can go out on the court and exert that type of effort.