Rafael Nadal now believes he can play ‘without limits’ as he continues his perfect start to 2022 with another win over Daniil Medvedev at the Mexico Open
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Rafael Nadal continues his superb form to usher in 2022 as he reaches the Mexican Open final for the fifth time of his career – where he will face England star Cameron Norrie.
The Spaniard fought back from two sets against the Russians to win the Australian Open final last month. It was Nadal’s 21st Grand Slam title, surpassing rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as the all-time leader in major men’s singles titles.
All the more impressive considering Nadal’s recent injury fortunes. The 35-year-old has struggled with injury and is sidelined for most of 2021 with a foot injury that required surgery in September.
A ‘liberated’ Nadal is now reaping the benefits of his recovery and sends a warning to rivals Djokovic and Co – claiming his injury problems are now behind he.
“As you know, I have better days and worse days,” said Nadal. “For me, the most important thing, whether it hurts or not, is that I can play without limits and that is something I was unable to do last year and I fear.
“I felt liberated and in the games I played with my feet it wasn’t a problem. I enjoy every day that my feet allow me to play freely. ”
After a simple opening set, Nadal was forced to score 11 breaks in two consecutive serve games in the second set before winning against Medvedev, who will become world number one on Monday.
Nadal proudly declared: “I played against a number one opponent and on the surface he was the best. “It is true that in Acapulco the boat is happier and that benefits me more.
“It’s a high-class win that helps me and that confirms that things are going in a very positive direction. Reaching the final in Acapulco means a lot and I’m very happy.
“The second set is very interesting. I think there are amazing points. In the first set, I think he tried to play more offensively than usual and I played well because I made very few mistakes.
“I played well tactically and my serves worked well. It was the best day of the entire tournament.
“Since I broke in the second set, his level has increased a lot.
“He started playing aggressively without fouling, changing direction, playing with good crosses, serving and I saved 11 breaks in two games, it’s already a lottery.”
Norrie will face Nadal in the Acapulco final after the Briton won an impressive 6-4 6-4 over world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/tennis/rafael-nadal-novak-djokovic-medvedev-26336117 Rafael Nadal fires warning shots at Djokovic and Co as he sets up Mexico Open final against Norrie