‘I never beat Rafael Nadal in tennis or golf’, says Top 10

Rafael Nadal got off to a winning start at Shanghai 2017, beating young American Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-1 in quick 54 minutes. It was one of the three fastest Masters 1000 victories for the Spaniard in completed matches, dominating serve and return to seal the deal in no time. Competing against Nadal for the first time, Donaldson got off to a great start, surrendering two nil at-bats and moving up 30-15 on the return in Game 5. From then on, Nadal was the only player on the court, scoring 42 of the last 55 points to cross the finish line in less than an hour. It all worked out perfectly for a 16-time Major champion, losing four points in his games and taking nearly half of the return points to create 11 break opportunities and convert four to control the pace. It was Nadal’s masterclass performance when we considered the first groundstroke after serve, scoring eight winners on that shot and efficiently placing balls for an instant advantage. Rafa created an open space like it was the easiest thing to do, spreading Jared over the baseline and opening the court for a ruthless execution. Nadal implemented the same tactics on the return, outliving the American’s ten service winners (six in the first two service games) and taking complete control once he broke the opponent’s service pattern.

Ruud praises Rafael Nadal

Casper Ruud was asked about his relationship with Rafael Nadal. The Norwegian replied that their association has evolved with time, and that the two have gone from being practice partners to competitors. “Rafa, of course, I got to know him a little bit better month by month,” Ruud said. “We were practicing sometimes here and there and eventually now we are… playing most of the tournaments at the same time. When I started I was not even in the top 100. And now we are, maybe, more competitors.” Ruud also mentioned that he has never beaten Nadal in either of the two sports that they are both proficient in – tennis and golf. “No, I never beat him in tennis or golf,” the 22-year-old said. “He still wins everything. So he’s very good on the golf course also. So someday, I hope I beat him. I will just be happy to try to win something because, like we all know, he is very, very competitive.” Rafael Nadal last won a Grand Slam at the French Open in 2020. Since then, he hasn’t been able to display his ace game. In all, Nadal has only competed in 29 matches in the year 2021. The new season would be surely very challenging for the Spaniard.

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