Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Rafael Nadal unsure if he will defend French Open title in 2019

Nadal Federer fight'the watch' keep winning Slams Rafael Nadal unsure if he will defend French Open title in 2019
Kristopher Love | 12 June, 2018, 20:51

Court's major title wins took place at the Australian Open in an era where some of the top players elected not to travel Down Under.

The win meant Nadal matched Margaret Court's record of majors at a single event but the Spaniard's is the more impressive. In 2009, he was upset by big-hitting Robin Soderling in the fourth round.

Former champions Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic could also feature, while in the women's draw, Serena Williams should return after pulling out of the French Open with an injury. It was a demanding two months for me.

"It's my way of thinking, my way to play this sport and I think it helped me to get the experience from all the tournaments to see that I'm able to win the mandatory tournaments and for sure if I'm able to beat these players, who are the same in the Grand Slams, I will one day win a Grand Slam". He did the same a year ago, and then went on to claim his record eighth championship at the All England Club, where play begins July 2. The Spaniard officially withdrew before the start of his third-round match in 2016.

After an early swap of service breaks in Paris, it was 4-all in the opening set. Of those 86 victories, 78 have come when Nadal has won the first set, after which he has never lost a match on Parisian clay. However, Nadal has won both their clashes at Roland Garros - in 2014 and in last year's semi-finals by a comfortable 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 margin. It was his 45th career clay-court title. Another forehand victor from Nadal found a corner, and Thiem yelled toward his coach. For a time, fans could nearly believe that Thiem would present a challenge in this match.

Nevertheless, at 24 he will have other chances, although maybe not until Nadal finally calls it quits. Could Thiem provide us with a classic final? The set stayed on serve until Thiem was serving at 4-5.

By 15, he had turned professional and, two years later, won his first match against Federer.

But the Austrian freed his shoulders and broke back in the third game with a forehand victor - pumping his fists in the direction of coach Gunter Bresnik.

Thiem was under the cosh, saving four break points in the first game of the third set before Nadal inevitably broke for 2-1.

It made no difference, however, Nadal could probably win this with one hand tied behind his back. The French Open statisticians are nicer than they should be, as all but one of Thiem's 19 errors in that stretch were unforced (officially, 12 were unforced and seven were forced). "So I will take it, I will embrace it and I will enjoy it". The two stars have combined to win the past six Slams.

So that leaves Federer and Nadal, healthy and talented as ever. The other three are Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and Federer, all of whom have won four each.

When the trainer visited Nadal in his quarterfinal for a similar issue, Nadal said it was simply to prevent sweat from traveling to his hand.

It's impossible to know, looking ahead, just how much longer Nadal can do this.