Rafael Nadal news: Serena Williams’ coach gives tactical insight into Spaniard’s Australian Open final win
Rafael Nadal’s “resilience and love for the fight” as well as his fitness and tactical acumen in the final were key to his Australian Open victory over Daniil Medvedev, according to Patrick Mouratoglou.
Heading into the showpiece match at Melbourne Park, Medvedev was the favourite with many predicting that Nadal would struggle if the Russian got off to a good start won the opening two sets.
And it went according to the form book as Medvedev looked comfortable in the opening two sets while he also found himself 2-3 and 0-40 up in the third set.
However, Nadal produced an epic comeback to win 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in over five hours.
In a series of videos on Instagram, renowned coach Mouratoglou explained how getting involved in a scrap helped Nadal in the final.
“I think everybody saw him lose this match,” he said. “He was dominated. He was extremely nervous. He was missing much more than usual.
“I think everybody will agree that his number one quality is resilience and love for the fight. He loves the fight.
“He loves when it’s tough, when most of the players don’t like those moments. He loves them.
“That’s where he feels alive and himself, and that made his career.”
The Frenchman, who is currently 23-times Grand Slam winner Serena Williams’ mentor, admitted that he expected Nadal to come off second best if it went the distance due to how he was holding up physically earlier in the tournament.
“What surprised me a lot in that final is Nadal’s physical shape. What we have seen so far during the tournament from him was one of the worst shapes he has shown so far in the last 20 years,” he said.
“He looked really tired. I thought that physicality would play a big role in that match, and Rafa had to win the first sets. And actually, the opposite happened.”
As for some of Nadal’s tactical shrewdness, Mouratoglou praised the Spaniard’s shot-making abilities.
“He started to use the slice a lot more. Short slice, bring Medvedev to the net where he won important points,” he said.
“The fact that he won points in a situation in which Medvedev was supposed to win them, because he just had one shot and he ended up losing them, made him doubt a lot.
So that was a turning point for me, the key, to bring Medvedev in a situation in which he was uncomfortable, to make him miss kind of easy shots. That hurts a lot.”
He added: “He played a lot of serve and right after drop shot because Daniil is so far back to return and he won so many points. I think it was some kind of turning point because he made Daniil doubt a lot when he was so close to the net and it affected Daniil’s [overall] game.
“He was playing high, with top-spin, not trying to shorten the rallies, he accepted the rallies and, at the end, it was Daniil who needed a massage, and Rafa not at all.”
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