Nadal does not understand surrender


The Spaniard returns with a belly rub in an epic afternoon against Fritz at Wimbledon

His family asked him to leave, stating that there was no point in continuing. His father and sister gestured to him. “Rafa…”, she muttered. Nadal was on his way to the locker room. His belly had been touched, he could not serve well and the pain gestures were visible. Retirement was close at hand, retirement was the most logical option, which the vast majority of tennis players would have chosen.

All maybe, except Rafa Nadal, the man who came out of his own pain to beat Taylor Fritz (3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 and 7-6 (4)) and qualify for the Wimbledon semi-finals that for many minutes was nothing more than a utopia.

Nobody on the center court trusted that Nadal could turn the game around when he was a set behind. The physical problems had already been confirmed and even his closest people did not believe that the Balearic Islands could emerge victorious from this confrontation. In all the stands there was no one to believe, the only one who trusted was on the track. The only one who had faith was Nadal himself.

In the middle of the second set, after Nadal lost a 3-1 lead in the first set and a 3-0 lead in the second, the Spaniard collapsed on his bench. It is not a common image of him, he is unlikely to show his negative emotions on a job. But something was wrong. The belly, the one that was protected these days and that he didn’t want to talk about at a press conference, gave him the afternoon. It forced him to leave.

He had to call the doctor, he had to go to the locker room for treatment. From the stands they asked him to end his suffering, but he trusted again. There were a few seconds of hesitation as he approached his seat and it buzzed as to whether he would stop. He picked up the racket, which rested on the chair, and embarked on a colossal adventure: come back from injury.

No tennis player knows better than he what it is to live with pain and so he modified his serve, slowed down and started to suffer with the serve and took advantage of the return. He reappeared in the second set, in an audience unlikely manner, and little by little he began to trust his abilities.

The defeat in the third set was made up for by the epic of the fourth and fifth, after going in favor with a break, it could not but end in a final super tie-break. The first to reach ten points won.

Nadal, who had been careful for nearly four hours, began to loosen up. In the games leading up to the tiebreak, he took his fist out for a walk, shoved forward and screamed when securing the tiebreak.

Fritz was a nerd, a soft tennis player and unable to take advantage of the situation that Nadal’s injury gave him. He already fell in five sets against Novak Djokovic injured in Australia 2021 and here he suffered a similar fate.

In the ‘tiebreak’ he hardly got any chances, he hardly created them. It started with a 5-0 strike in favor of Nadal and while he came back to 5-3, he never came close. Four points in a row gave the man from Manacor seven chances to convict this. The match, one of the most bizarre of his career, fell to second chance.

Nadal improbably took the win on a central court that rubbed his eyes on a tennis genius’ latest magic trick. “For a few moments I thought I couldn’t finish it,” admitted the Spaniard, with a serious expression and acknowledging the role he had played in the stands. “It gives me a special energy.”

The win allows him to reach his eighth semi-final in the All England Club, where he will face Australian Nick Kyrgios, who defeated Chilean Cristian Garín 6-4, 6-3 and 7-6 (5) . It will be the tenth clash in their career, with Nadal leading 6-3. Kyrgios and the man from Manacor have seen each other twice here at Wimbledon. The first in 2014 went to Canberra and the second, in 2019, to Nadal.

Source: La Verdad


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