Top coach: “I advised Rafael Nadal to fight to the end and persevere.”

Rafael Nadal can not recall his clay-court performance at the Rio Open in 2015. The Spanish player beat Pablo Cuevas in the quarterfinals that year at 3:00 AM, and 20 hours later, he was back on the court to play Fabio Fognini in the semifinals.

Despite Nadal‘s frequent complaints about the scheduling process, the Italian would eventually triumph in a gripping three-set showdown. Tournament director Luiz Carvalho recalls that challenging time in a recent exclusive interview with Tennis World USA.

“We had four matches on that day, the first of which began at 3 PM and lasted three hours apiece, after Nadal concluded at 3 AM. As the final participant for the day, Nadal engaged in a lengthy contest.

Nadal was not in the best of circumstances overall for the players and the tournament, but for five years at the Rio Open, that was the only time it happened. It frequently occurs at the US Open in Washington, China.

There are some things we occasionally have no control over. Carvalho continued, saying of Fognini‘s significant victory over Nadal: “It was a great contest. As the match progressed, Nadal assumed control and the audience began to sway slightly in favor of Fognini, the shortest player on the field.

Fabio’s response was outstanding, and match point was crucial. People really enjoy Fabio; they find him to be engaging, and they like the way he expresses his feelings. We are glad to have him for the sixth edition. One of the favorites to win in 2019 is him.

Rafa is a superb sportsman.

The former world number one Rafael Nadal spoke about what his uncle advised him before the important match in his autobiography, Rafael Nadal: My Story. Ask Toni Nadal what his last words to his nephew were before he left the Wimbledon locker room at the beginning of the 2008 final, and he’ll tell you: “I told him to battle to the end and survive,” according to an excerpt from his book.

If you ask him how Rafa became the best tennis player in the world, he will respond, “Because it’s all in your brain, in your mentality, in wanting more, in enduring more than your adversary.” Nadal has also described what Toni says to him during his recovery from injuries; “Ask him what he says to Rafa on those days when the body rebels and the pain seems too great to compete on court, and his reply will be: I say to him, ‘Look, you’ve got two roads to choose from: tell yourself you’ve had enough and we leave, or be prepared to suffer and keep going. The options are to persevere or give up.