Rafael Nadal ‘only needs a few matches in New York’ to find best form

Rafael Nadal in action

Former ATP Tour professional Alex Corretja believes that Rafael Nadal can find championship-winning form at Flushing Meadows next week.

Nadal has played just one match on the North American swing to date, going down to eventual Cincinnati champion Borna Coric in the Round of 32 in Ohio.

The Spaniard opted against the trip to North Carolina for the Winston-Salem, instead repairing directly to New York for informal warm-ups.

Corretja believes that Nadal has already shown that he can get into his best form very quickly at the Majors.

“If that would happen five, six years ago, maybe we could say okay,

“Rafa needs this kind of training before a Grand Slam, in order to be ready to play well, since he showed and he proved himself and everybody else that with little practice, and with little matches, he gets the rhythm he needs for the Grand Slams,” Corretja said in a Eurosport discussion.

“I don’t think we should be concerned, of course, it would have been great for him to play maybe three matches before the US Open. And that would have been enough. But he could get that at the beginning of the tournament with some of the matches that he will play. Last week he lost to Coric but it was okay; when you finish the tournament and you see that the guy that you lost to, wins the tournament.

“And then you are so much more relaxed. This is something that as a tennis player, well, at least as myself, but I think everybody would feel the same. When you lose to someone, you like him to win the tournament, because you like to feel like okay, I lost to him because he was on fire. And that’s what Coric has shown.

“So I think Rafa probably when he goes back into the locker room after that match, he might feel like, okay, I missed this or that, and probably, you know, wishes he’d made some adjustments.

“But when he saw that his opponent won the tournament and the way he did it, I think he will be pretty much comfortable thinking that he’s not that far away from the top of the players.

“So he only needs a few matches in New York. And he is going to be again, very dangerous because he’s got the comfort of knowing that he won the Australian Open from a similar position, which was unbelievable, let’s say, and surprising as a way that he won.

“But from where he came, you know, he came from a lot of problems. So right now, it is a shame that he didn’t have this little bit of extra matches.

“But I’m sure that he’s comfortable about his game and his performance. And he’s got the experience to know how to deal with the big winners of the tournament.”

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Nadal’s incredible success in 2022 has come against a backdrop of seemingly insurmountable injury struggles but Corretja stopped short of saying this would be his crowning achievement given his glittering career.

“It’s difficult to pick when you are that good. And you have so many important tournaments in your career. How can you know what your best season is? I think we need to wait of course but it could be one of the most surprising ones because he’s come a long way from before Melbourne.

“Then before Roland-Garros, we didn’t know if he was going to play and then if he’s capable of winning here, that will be a major impact. So at least ah you know, that will be a major effort. We have to wait. But of course, what he’s been doing this season for Rafa is extremely difficult.

“I think probably one of the most difficult seasons of his career, from where he came from and for the things he had in the beginning and in the middle of the season as well. Coming from Indian Wells, he also felt that danger and then he missed some of the clay court tournaments. Then when he comes back he’s got the foot problem and then he goes to Roland-Garros and then all of a sudden he won, so I’m so impressed again with what Rafa is doing.

“I mean I’ve known him since he was a little kid. I still don’t know how he can adjust himself so well to situations. He is probably the best player or athlete that I have ever met at knowing how to deal with adversity because he deals with that very well and this is so difficult.”