Nadal reconfirmed the incredible story of reinventing himself as a player

Rafael Nadal won the Mexican Tennis Open for the fourth time. The first time was when I was 18 years old / AP

Nobody would have imagined that Rafael Nadal had the best start of his career as a professional tennis player at 35 years of age. The Spaniard is experiencing a “second youth” in this 2022 season and, after rumors of a possible retirement, since last September he published a photograph on social networks where he appeared with crutches. In short, Rafa reinvented himself again showing a high-level game and remarkable effectiveness with a record of 15 wins and no defeats (numbers that he left behind at the beginning of 2014 with 11-0) conquering the three tournaments he played: ATP 250 Melbourne, Australia Open (he became the player with the most Grand Slams, a total of 21, beating Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer) and the Acapulco ATP 500, all on hard surfaces.

In the early hours of Sunday in Argentina, Nadal lifted the Mexican Open tournament for the fourth time (the first was in 2005, when he was just 18 years old, when he beat his compatriot Albert Montañés in the final), which was played in a warm and humid (27º centigrade) night of Acapulco. Rafa (5) beat the British Cameron Norrie (12) by a double 6-4, after an hour and 54 minutes of play before a packed stadium that vibrated with the Spaniard and with the good play of his opponent, who was noted to He did not reach the final by chance.

“For me, the most important thing is that I won a prestigious tournament in the world of tennis. Taking the victory from Acapulco means a lot. It is incredible how things change from one day to the next, from practically not being able to train to being in such a special moment that I am going through, ”admitted Nadal, who in the semifinals left the brand new No. 1 in the ATP ranking, the Russian Daniil, on the way. Medvedev for a double 6-3.

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Later on, the Spaniard admitted that “it wasn’t my best match of the tournament, but looking on the positive side, it was against one of the best players on the circuit today. Cameron (Norrie) has an uncomfortable game, the virtue of making the rival feel so that he cannot play comfortably, which makes him make difficult decisions and think much more when playing each point. It is one more title to add to my career, and also an important one. It is true that I have maintained a good attitude. I am really happy and enjoying every moment.”

Nadal won his last 20 sets in Acapulco, and has not lost a set of the Mexican tournament since February 2019 against Australian Nick Kyrgios). Against Cameron Norrie he was far from a decisive set. Rafa (fourth seed in the competition) took advantage of the first break point of the match to go ahead 3-2 on the scoreboard, and made a success of the break to win the initial sleeve in 51 minutes of play.

Confidence was enough to break in the opening game of the second set, but although he went from 0-40 to 40-40 in the next game, Nadal could not confirm the break. Of course, he climbed back on the scoreboard breaking again at 2-2 and again at 4-2 to head for victory.

Although he wasted the first option serving for the championship (at 5-2), Nadal took advantage of the second opportunity to reach his fourth title in Acapulco (2005, 2013, 2020, 2022) and to become the first player to win multiple times. in this tournament that has been played since 2014 on hard courts.

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The last time Nadal had won at least three hard court tournaments, in as many appearances, was almost a decade ago. In 2013, Rafa reached the titles of Indian Wells, Montreal and Cincinnati, to later win one of the four US Open of his career that same year.

In 2005, at the age of 18, Nadal won the Mexican Open for the first time.

Nadal, who from today will rise to number 4 in the world rankings (he will displace the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas), reached the 91st title of his career, taking off from Novak Djokovic (86) and slowly approaching the figures of Ivan Lendl (94) , Roger Federer (103) and Jimmy Connors (109), the only tennis players ahead of him.

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