‘Rafael Nadal has succeeded in that’, says former ATP ace

Coach Neville Godwin believes Reilly Opelka has what it takes to be a top-10 player and believes the American’s performance against Rafael Nadal earlier in the year supports that claim. Opelka, ranked 17th in the world, reached his career-best ranking at the end of February. In the past, South African coach Godwin worked for four years with two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson. “He can definitely be a top 10 player,” Godwin said on the Control the Controllables podcast, according to Sportskeeda. “He plays a very scary type of tennis. When he’s in the right frame of mind and there’s no one on any real surface, he’s scary.” In March, Opelka suffered a straight-sets loss to Nadal in the round of 16 at the Indian Wells Masters. But it was anything but an easy match for Nadal, as the Spaniard edged out Opelka 7-6(1) 7-6(4). “He played Nadal in Indian Wells,” Godwin said. “He played a great match, he lost 7-6 and 7-6 and he had a chance after that to win a set and that’s the slowest hard court you can get so we were talking, how good it could be and I said, ‘I honestly think he’ll be at his best in 18 months or two years’. That’s growing up, maturing, learning the trade and being better.” Opelka is a four-time ATP champion and has two titles this year: Dallas and Houston. According to Godwin, Opelka is committed to training. “I mean he works incredibly hard,” Godwin said. “I mean just this week is an example. Training for the US season, I think he’s done two or three weight sessions and he’s putting up pretty big numbers.”

Rafa Nadal can become No.1

John McEnroe lavished praise on the ‘Big-3’ in a recent interview, hailing the variety in each player’s game style. “Roger Federer is the most beautiful player I’ve ever seen. He’s like an updated version of Rod Laver. I’d never seen anyone that tried harder than Jimmy Connors but Rafael Nadal has succeeded in that. Djokovic is like the human dartboard, which I can relate to,” McEnroe said in a conversation with The Week magazine. The 60-year-old went on to talk about his own life, remarking that he was proud of himself for handling the many successes and failures he encountered during the various stages of his career. “I feel proud of the direction I’ve gone in, what I’ve learnt from my successes and failures as a player, as a husband and as a father,” McEnroe said. “Ultimately, you have to ask yourself: how comfortable do I feel as a human being? I feel pretty good.”