Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in the closing stages of 2019 to claim his fifth world No. 1. 1 end of the year. Nadal finished the season with the Davis Cup Finals crown and started the 2020 season in another team competition.
Rafa led Spain to the inaugural ATP Cup final, losing 2-1 to Serbia and missing out on both notable team titles. Shifting the focus from him to the Australian Open, Nadal advanced to the fourth round after a convincing 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta in an hour and 38 minutes.
Nadal, who struggled a bit against Federico Delbonis in the previous round, played much better this round in a sunny Rod Laver Arena, controlling the pace from start to finish and advancing to the round of 16. The 2009 champion lost just ten points on serve. never before a break point and increased the pressure on the other side of the net after notching 42 winners and just seven unforced errors.
As expected, Carreno Busta couldn’t follow those numbers, struggling hard on the second serve and getting broken five times by the ten chances Rafa gave, despite some comfortable holdings in sets two and three.
Pleased with his performance, Nadal described the win as the best of the tournament so far. The Spaniard was happy with his serve and forehand and expected more in the next round against Nick Kyrgios or Karen Khachanov.
“Today I played the best match of the tournament so far. It’s a very positive thing to be able to improve a little bit every day. I’m super happy but I also feel sorry for Pablo, he’s a good friend and I do I wish him all the best for the rest of the season.”
Rafa has won the French Open 14 times
Renowned trainer Patrick Mouratoglou recently explained the science behind Rafael Nadal’s deadly topspin forehand. “He started out with very strong clay court trends, but over the years he’s done a lot of technical work to make him adaptable to any surface,” said Mouratoglou.
“He starts his preparation in the traditional way, pushing his racquet back with his non-dominant arm, his racquet head pointing up towards the sky. The whip effect – Rafa has his grip very loose. The deceleration of his racquet head creates incredible acceleration, the club head returns to the level of the hand during impact.
His arm goes from bent to fully extended. His contact point is also far forward, even further than his right foot.”