1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash was full of praise for 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal who scripted history in Australia this January. Nadal by winning the 2022 Australian Open, his 2nd title in Melbourne Park, also went on to win his 21st career Grand Slam title and become the first man ever to achieve the feat overtaking rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic with 20 Slams each.
As Rafa now leads the list for the most number of Grand Slams won for the first time in his career, Cash also talked about the emotions the Spaniard shows on the court during his matches. The former World No. 4 also emphasised that Nadal has a better imposing presence on the court as compared to Federer.
“I believe he induces more pre-match fear in opponents than any other player, Federer included. He has an imposing presence on the court and whereas Federer is almost as undemonstrative as Bjorn Borg used to be, Nadal believes in letting other players know how emphatically he feels they have been outplayed. Opponents are frightened of Rafael Nadal, but he seems to fear nothing.
“He came bounding out like this was his big chance. Even four years ago, his game had so many astounding qualities. The physique had not developed and he looked like a child, but there was a maturity when he was under pressure and he showed an intensity beyond his years on every shot,” wrote Cash in his column for Times Online.
Rafael Nadal currently on a 15-0 streak
Having spent more than half of the last season injured, Nadal returned to the Tour at the 2022 Melbourne Summer Set 1 claiming the title without dropping a single set. He then played at the Australian Open when he surprised the world by defeating Daniil Medvedev who was the favourite given his supreme form on hardcourts and having taken a 2-0 set lead before Nadal staged a one-for-the-ages comeback.
Nadal made his 3rd tournament appearance of the season at the 2022 Acapulco Open in Mexico where he captured his 3rd title on the trot defeating Cameron Norrie in the finals and Medvedev in the semi-finals. It was his 92nd career title as he went on to win is 4th Acapulco Open title and did not drop a set this year to now be 15-0 for the season, the best start to his season ever in his illustrious 2-decade long career.