Rafa Nadal: ‘A smart match, but not perfect’

Rafa Nadal has started the Nitto ATP Finals 2020 overwhelming young Russian rookie Andrey Rublev, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 17 minutes. It is his 10th appearance in an event for which he has qualified 16 times, non-stop since 2005.

Next Tuesday he will play against Dominic Thiem on the second day of the London 2020 Group. The Austrian beat Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (5), 4-6 and 6-3.

Mundo Deportivo has followed the appearance of Rafa Nadal through videoconference, since the O2 in London is also closed to the media due to the pandemic.

The Spaniard positively valued the triumph, although without falling into euphoria. “It was not a perfect match. Rublev has made more mistakes than usual. I have served very well. If you are correct with the service for the rival, it becomes very complicated on this surface. A smart match. A rival and a difficult match for different reasons. I have been able to better apply what was prepared as I was serving well. It has allowed me to subtract more relaxed. I did not want rhythm, that we did not enter the fight to rally a lot from the bottom. It has worked. Happy. We have been able to be faithful to the idea we had ”.

Dominic Thiem, a good friend and tough rival, awaits him, his executioner in the last Australian Open. “A great player, he deserved to win a Grand Slam like the US Open. Tough rival, one of the most difficult. It will be a great challenge and I hope to be prepared, ”said Nadal, who normally faces him on the ground.

“Today we have to forget about specialists on the ground. Dominic champion US Open and finalist from Australia. Run away from clichés. Not for good results we are specialists. Results show that Dominic is a specialist in all surfaces, except Wimbledon it costs him more ”.

Nadal would secure the world number two if he beat Thiem, who practically has to make a perfect tournament to overcome the manacorí. “I’d rather finish number two than three, but I haven’t looked at the ranking for a long time to choose my calendar, which must be increasingly smart, choosing well with my team which goals are the main ones.”

London says goodbye as headquarters after a dozen editions. Nadal was at the premiere, he will also be the protagonist in the farewell of the O2 to give relief to Turin. “For many years I have had the right attitude, I have been able to have a capacity for consistency that is very great. I have faced injuries and long stops. I have always managed to qualify. Many years finishing in the top eight. Satisfaction.

On the bubble from hotel to facility, he was resounding once again: “The world is suffering, we are lucky to be able to play tennis. It is more boring, sometimes more difficult mentally, since you cannot be with the family going out to distract you, but we cannot complain, we are being able to do our work ”.