‘Rafael Nadal could not easily escape from there’, says former No. 1

Between 1993-2000, Pete Sampras managed five seasons with two Major finishes to join the exclusive roster as the last player before the ‘Big 3’ Roger Federer did that six years in a row and added 2015 and 2017 to his account to be alone with eight seasons with at least two Major finals. Rafael Nadal surpassed that after a stellar performance between 2006-2019 and became the first player with ten seasons with two Grand Slam finals. Novak Djokovic first achieved that in 2011, and he never looked back, advancing to two tournament finals in this category in ten of the previous 11 seasons, which is a mind-boggling feat! For the past decade, the most dominant figure did not play in two Major finals in 2017 alone when he was dealing with an elbow injury, he came back stronger a year later and remained on the road to victory ever since. Eager to improve his Major account after coming up empty at the US Open and Roland Garros last year, Novak overcame a abdominal injury in Melbourne and beat Daniil Medvedev to lift the ninth Australian Open title. In Paris, Djokovic edged out Lorenzo Musetti and Matteo Berrettini to enter the semi-finals, where he defeated Rafael Nadal after a thrilling battle that lasted more than four hours. In the title match, the Serbian edged out Stefanos Tsitsipas, keeping his cool and starting again in the third to outrun the Greek and beat him in five sets for the 19th Grand Slam crown with 35.

Carlos Moya comments on Rafael Nadal

In a recent interview, Carlos Moya highlighted the mental and physical toll the clay swing had taken on Rafael Nadal, and stressed how the World No. 3 needed to preserve his body to prolong his career. “The clay court tour was very tough, with a lot of physical and mental pressure,”¬†Moya said. “Rafa finished exhausted. He is going to take a well-deserved rest, this is a marathon, a long-distance race in which hard decisions have to be made and he has considered that the best thing is to stop to come back full of strength.” Carlos Moya believes Nadal was uncharacteristically error-prone and struggled on his serve and backhand, which Djokovic exploited. “Rafa made too many unforced errors and was not at his level with the serve or with the backhand,” Rafael Nadal’s coach said. “Novak did better, he cornered him very well on his backhand side and Rafa could not easily escape from there. We are going to learn a lot from this match. He has an impressive mentality, a determination rarely seen in the history of the sport,” Moya added.

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