‘Rafael Nadal hits the ball hard and high from…’, says young ATP star

Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios have played eight times so far, and the Spaniard has scored five victories. Showing no signs of fear and unimpressed by a legend on the other side of the net, the 19-year-old Australian stunned Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014, and they had a couple more exciting matchups. Two opponents played six tiebreaks in their previous ten sets, standing side by side and constantly pushing themselves to the limit. As has always been the case with Kyrgios, Nadal did not like how the Australian performed in some of his encounters, especially in Acapulco two years ago. After all kinds of drama, Kyrgios defeated Nadal 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 in three hours and three minutes after fending off three match points in the decisive tiebreaker. On the way to Acapulco with knee problems and five games on his account in 2019, Nick found some extra gear to score two wins and reach the quarterfinals. Leading 6-3, 4-4, former champion Nadal blew four break points that could have pushed him closer to the finish line. Rafa also threw no fewer than five break opportunities at 3-2 in the deciding match and three extra match points at 6-3 in the tie break before dropping the last five points to propel Nick to the last eight. The Spaniard had 39 winners and 17 unforced errors, while Kyrgios counted at a 58-49 ratio, firing bullets from his serve and forehand to keep the points on his racket and forge victory against all odds. Nadal lost just four points on serve in the first set and brought it home with a break in the sixth game after Nick’s bad volley. Four winners at 5-3 were enough to send Nadal to the front after 34 minutes, and he had those opportunities in the ninth game of the second set when Kyrgios faced elimination.

Emil Ruusuvuori on Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal’s rigorous training sessions have always been a part of his aura and legacy. The Spaniard is famous for practicing as hard and with as much focus as he plays in his professional matches. “Last two years we went to his structure in Mallorca to practice and both times I was able to practice with him,” Ruusuvuori said. “So, the first time I was more nervous… and he hits the ball so hard from the first ball. I would say there is nobody with whom you can get this kind of an experience.” Emil Ruusuvuori went on to compare the training methodology of Rafael Nadal with that of Novak Djokovic. Ruusuvuori said that even though the Serb hits the ball “cleaner”, the intensity at which he operates during practice is not as frenetic as Nadal. “It’s just a different kind of way with which he approaches practice and of course, how he plays,” the Finn said. “Even, say, Novak (Djokovic) is nice, and he hits the ball cleaner. But the pace in the practice is not as high, and that’s something very, very different.”