Manacor, Spain, Feb 2 (EFE).- Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal said Wednesday that he had played “infinitely better” than what he or his team “could have imagined” in his history-making 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
Speaking on his return to Majorca from Melbourne, the now most successful Grand Slam champion in history said: “From a sporting perspective, I had a really dramatic tournament, but in the end the right circumstances came together,” he said.
“I played with abandon, with joy and with the utmost enthusiasm. There were key moments and luck was on my side.”
Nadal was speaking at a crowded press conference at his Manacor tennis academy alongside the trophy he won in Melbourne after an epic 5-set victory over second seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia on Sunday.
The Spaniard admitted that he could not see a route to victory when he was faced with a 2-0 set deficit.
“I was the first to think that the issue was very complicated,” he said. “I decided to keep playing, to just think about the next point and stay in the match because in the end tennis always gives you a chance to achieve something important and I know that from experience. It is the rush when it comes to winning, and if you keep close on the scoreboard there may be an option,” he said.
“Most of the time it doesn’t work out well and that has happened to me many times,” Nadal added.
The manner of Nadal’s comeback win was made all the more impressive by the fact that the 35-year-old was out of action for 6 months, some of which he spent on crutches.
“To reach the final was already an incredible gift for me, considering the circumstances. I went through some really difficult moments between the injuries and coronavirus which had me locked up at home for 10 days,” he said.
Despite all of that, Nadal said that now he can see himself continuing his career more than four weeks ago.
“I played five-set matches with maximum effort and I was able to cope,” he said. “It was an incredible injection of energy and confidence to continue fighting.”
While he keeps racking up the wins and titles, he insists that his drive and ambition remain healthy.
“What motivates me is to do what I love, as long as that doesn’t mean a physical disaster,” he said.
“I love training and competing, even though I know that has an expiry date. I know it is not forever, but while I have the ability to keep enjoying what I do and competing at my age with the best in the world on the world’s biggest stages, that motivates me,” Nadal said. EFE