Thursday, Jun 1, 2023

'Destroyed' Nadal's shock admission after epic

Tennis great Rafael Nadal believes he was lucky to outlast young gun challenger Denis Shapovalov in an epic five-set quarter-final.The 35-year-old..

Tennis great Rafael Nadal believes he was "lucky" to outlast young gun challenger Denis Shapovalov in an epic five-set quarter-final.

The 35-year-old Spaniard was pushed to his physical limits in a gruelling 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 victory on Rod Laver Arena in the heat of a Melbourne Park summer.

He won the first two sets and looked comfortable, before things began to unravel for the legend who already has 20 Grand Slam titles in his trophy cabinet.

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The energy seemed to drain from Nadal as he lost sets three and four, and then he took a medical timeout before returning for the fifth set.

Rafael Nadal

He broke Shapovalov early in the fifth and then held on to win through to his seventh Australian Open semi-final.

Nadal was asked by Nine's Jim Courier how he managed to rally and win the match.

"I don't know, honestly. I was completely destroyed," Nadal said.

"Very tough day, very warm. Honestly I didn't practice for it.

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"I was a little bit lucky at the beginning of the fifth. At the beginning of the match I was playing great, then... I know how difficult it is to play against a player like Denis, he is very talented, very aggressive.

Nadal wins crazy rally

"He was serving huge, especially on the second serve.

"I started to feel a bit more tired, and then he pushed me. For me it's amazing to be in the semi finals."

When Nadal had medical attention at the end of the fourth set, commentators speculated he either had an abdominal strain or a stomach illness.

He confirmed it was the latter, and he had to take medication just to make it through the fifth set.

Weary Nadal calls for medics

He admitted he may not have been able to win the match if Shapovalov managed to break his serve at the pointy end.

"I started to not feel very well in my stomach, so I asked if they can do something," he said.

"We went inside, they took the tension, they check if everything was all right with my body. Then I took some tablets to try improve the stomach problem.

"I think I was lucky that I was serving great in the fifth."

Nadal now takes on the winner of the Gael Monfils vs Matteo Berrettini clash to be played later tonight.

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By: wwos
Title: 'Destroyed' Nadal's shock admission after epic
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Published Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2022 08:22:00 +0000

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