Tennis players regard Rafael Nadal as the toughest competitor to beat on the tour. So what does an opponent really need to do, to beat the Spanish World No. 2? Here’s what his 7-time opponent and Greece’s best player Stefanos Tsitsipas had to say.
Most recently, the 22-year-old Greek professional faced the Spaniard in the ground stage of the 2020 ATP Finals. There, the 2019 ATP Finals winner failed to defend his title as Rafa beat him 6-4, 4-6, and 6-2.
It was the 34-year-old’s 6th win against Tsitsipas; the latter has registered only one win against Nadal. And from these experiences, the Greek gives his point of view of the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
“He is someone who just doesn’t accept to give up, never. He never fails to deliver,” the Greek professional said. “Even on his worse days, he always has, with his fighting spirit, his ways to go around it. And that’s what makes him one of the toughest players to beat.”
But there is so much more that makes the Mallorcan a true athlete. In addition to revealing Rafa’s plus points, Tsitsipas even explained what it would take to win against him.
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Stefanos Tsitsipas explains how to beat Rafael Nadal
Apart from his ever-growing energy and focus, the record 13-time French Open champion also has a left-hand advantage. And according to the 22-year-old, the hand makes it all the more difficult to defeat him.
“I think he takes very good advantage of his left hand… uses that to the max,” Tsitsipas explained. “He’s been a very difficult player from the baseline, and someone that you really have to be 100% concentrated in every single point to beat.”
In such a case, one must play his most extraordinary game to win vs the World No. 2. However, if one levels with the commitment of Rafael Nadal, one can surely gain an edge over the match.
“You have to bring the best out of his serve, out of your groundstrokes,” Stefanos said. “Generally, you have to be very concentrated and careful when you play against him.”
But even this cannot guarantee that one will steer past the ‘King of Clay’. Hence, many players including Dominic Thiem and Stefanos himself have set their biggest goals as beating Nadal on clay.
They are set to lock horns in the upcoming ATP Cup 2021 in Melbourne Park. Let’s see if Tsitsipas can utilize his expertise of the Spaniard’s game to his advantage. Currently, he is in quarantine at the Australian Open 2021 bubble.
Will the Greek professional beat Nadal in the ATP Cup?