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All eyes on Nadal and Federer at the Australian Open 2020

All eyes on Nadal and Federer at the Australian Open 2020
2 years ago 1953 Views

With Rafael Nadal recently winning his 19th Grand Slam singles title, he now sits one behind Roger Federer, who holds the record for most Grand Slams held by anyone in history. Come January, Nadal will have the opportunity to match Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slams. However, Nadal has told various media publications that he isn’t treating this upcoming competition any different to previous Grand Slams he’s competed for.

Speaking to COPE, Nadal said, “I’ve never felt demanded or anything like this. In the end I have always made my way and that is what I’ll continue to do.”

He added, “I’ll try to do things in the best possible way to continue trying to generate options. I’ll try to continue enjoying the special things that have been happening to me for so many years and try to have opportunities to continue living moments like this year’s US Open.”

Nadal also mentioned in another interview that while it’s important to enjoy the present moment and not think about the looming Grand Slam too much, he’ll try to be adequately poised and ready to seize the next opportunity.

“When an opportunity to win a Grand Slam is present again, I will try to be prepared for it.”

Exciting comebacks, title-defenders and promising newcomers assures that there’ll be no shortage of thrills at the 2020 Australian Open

With Roger Federer shocking tennis fans worldwide when he took home the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup two years in a row in 2017 and 2018, the legendary Swiss player has proven he’s still very much in the game at 38 years old. Tournament Director Craig Tiley said there’ll be plenty of drama and no shortage of incredible matches for fans to see at the 2020 Australian Open this January. The tournament will be held across Melbourne Park at Australia’s famous Hisense Arena and Margaret Court Arena, with centre court at Rob Laver Arena.

“Both the men’s and women’s fields are extraordinary and filled with a mixture of former champions and amazing newcomers,” he said.

Along with Nadal and Federer’s rivalry, current World Number 1 Novak Djokovic will be defending his title, while Andy Murray has enjoyed a remarkable recovery from a severe hip injury this time a year ago that seriously jeopardised his future tennis career. Meanwhile, Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas is sure to draw a huge crowd, considering Melbourne boasts the largest Greek fan base outside of Greece itself.

Serena Williams and Belgian Kim Clijsters – two world-renowned female tennis legends who have both been absent from the sport in recent years due to pregnancies and parenthood – are also sure to offer some surprises.

A little background on “The King of Clay” as he prepares for a potential 20th Grand Slam win

Nadal is commonly referred to as “The King of Clay” due to his unwavering legacy of 59 clay court titles and a phenomenal 81-match winning streak on clay courts. Many consider him to be the best clay-court tennis player of all time. Considering his aggressive playing style, which is ideally suited more for clay courts than hard courts, many had predicted a short career for Nadal – something which has proven to be an inaccurate assessment. In fact, Telegraph Feature Sports Writer Oliver Brown recently suggested that “Nadal’s astonishing resilience suggests he may not just emulate his great rival Roger Federer, but usurp him”.

Well-renowned tennis videographer and researcher John Yandell once filmed professional tennis players hitting tennis balls at full force with a high-speed camera, and used specialised software to determine the average revolutions of the tennis ball achieved by each player. Yandell found that Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi were hitting forehands that were spinning tennis balls between 1800 and 1900 revolutions per minute, while Roger Federer’s forehands were reaching 2700 revolutions per minute.

“We measured one forehand Nadal hit at 4900,” Yandell said. “His average was 3200.”

To put this into perspective, Nadal’s average forehand sends the tennis ball spinning at a staggering 53 revolutions every second. One of Nadal’s coaches, Carlos Moya, recalled meeting Nadal for the first time in Stuttgart, Germany, at a Masters event.

“We actually played that day, and he was 12 and I was 22. He was very shy off court, but then we saw something different on court,” Moya said. “He was very hungry to play and compete and that’s something you could see right away.”

When the Spanish tennis federation asked Rafael’s family if he could move to Barcelona at the mere age of 14, his uncle Toni had this to say:

“I don’t want to believe that you have to go to America, or other places, to be a good athlete. You can do it from your home.”

Sure enough, with funding from his father, Rafael Nadal managed to become a professional tennis player the following year – while remaining in Mallorca. Since then, Nadal has gone on to win 19 Grand Slams, more than a few ATP Tour titles, numerous French Opens, US Opens, Australian Opens, Wimbledon titles and Olympic Gold medals.

In just three months, Nadal might match Federer’s world record for most Grand Slams in history. Find tickets and further information about the tournament at Queen of Tickets – your source for the best of the 2020 Australian Open.

Image Credit: Rafael Nadal