The 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal says that if a player doesn’t get nervous he’s lying or doesn’t care about the sport. Nadal, 35, is ultra-competitive on the court and always shows his emotions. On Thursday, Nadal survived an epic Indian Wells quarterfinal match against Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal, a former world number 1, defeated Kyrgios 7-6 (0), 5-7, 6-4 to advance to the Indian Wells semifinal. Nadal was celebrating after every big point. “If someone tells you not to get nervous, two options: this guy is lying to you or he doesn’t care much about the sport: when you’re doing something that matters to you, it’s normal for you to be nervous, and you need this kind of nerve to play well, in my opinion,” Nadal said, according to Boccardi.
Kyrgios got the first break of the match in the third game, but he failed the first set serve in the tenth game and Nadal forced the tie-break and took the first set. Kyrgios rallied in the second set and earned the only break of the set in game 12 to force the decider.
Kyrgios had two break points in the second game of the third set, but Nadal saved them to level the set at one game apiece. Nadal had his first break points of the set in game five, but Kyrgios saved them to take a 3-2 lead.
After missing two break points in game five, Nadal kept his focus and broke Kyrgios in game seven for a 4-3 lead.
Nadal has had an impressive run of form in 2022
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova heaped praise on Rafael Nadal, saying she applauds his patience, perseverance and excellence.
“You know, he gives you all the time,” Navratilova said. “I was in a gym and we were both on a stationary bike, and someone asked him for an autograph on the stationary bike. I would have totally told them off but he said ‘of course’ and he signs while he is on the bike.
He doesn’t say no to anybody, I applaud his patience, I applaud his perseverance, I applaud his excellence. If I had a hat, I’d take it off.” Nadal has had an impressive run of form in 2022, winning three titles, including a record 21st Grand Slam.
He has now won 19 matches on the trot and will be looking to add a fourth title of at Indian Wells this week. Coming back to Nadal’s performance at the Indian Wells, the 3-time champion looks in solid shape, being one of the top contenders of the title.
Following his quarterfinal win on Kyrgios, Rafa is now on a 19-0-win streak. He will next play fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals.