Spanish tennis legend, Rafael Nadal who featured in his sixteenth semifinal in the history of the Italian Open after beating Alexander Zverev claimed to have played his best game on clay. He also added that winning high pressure matches increases his confidence.
“When you fight, you usually have some prize. I fought a lot yesterday (against Canadian Denis Shapovalov) and in the end I was able to win and he allowed me to play today. Today I played much better than yesterday, I played more solidly.
“It was one of my best matches on clay against a very tough opponent, “Nadal said at the end of his quarterfinal win against Zverev. ” It’s a great victory, it’s important to have won under pressure because in recent weeks I had lost important points, this week I moved better and I’m super happy,” he added.
Nadal who is a 20 time Grand Slam winner spoke highly of the lanky American Reilly Opelka. The 23-year old who is ranked at 47 in the world according to ATP ranking is known for his strong serve. “Opelka is a tough opponent, very complicated, he has a huge serve, I have to be focused on my serve,” Nadal said.
We’ll see, I know he has a great serve, I have to play well, solid, try to make him play one more shot. They are semifinals of a Masters 1,000, you have to be focused, “he added.
“I have played more games, I have been working well. Beyond the resistance, I lacked a bit of spark and it was what I was looking for. Today (quarterfinals) again I defended better, I read the game better and that for me is the important thing,” Nadal explained.
“There were many long points, I had the ability to play another ball more inside, “he considered. He also reassured about his condition after he fell during the first set of the match against Zverev and suffered injuries to various parts of the body.”
Nadal eventually did beat the lanky American in the semifinals in straight sets 6-4,6-4 to storm into his 10th Italian Open finals.
Lastly Nadal also pointed out on how the conditions at last year’s Roland Garros was not ideal for his style of play. It was played during September and October amid heavy and humid conditions which the Spaniard is not a fan of but he still dominated every match winning the Grand Slam without dropping a set.
“The conditions at Roland Garros last year were probably the toughest for me, for my style of play, but hey, it wasn’t bad at all,” Nadal said. “I played very well and I don’t think I lost a set. Sometimes things happen that way, but if you ask me what I prefer, I choose to play under normal circumstances without a doubt,” the Spaniard concluded.