“We were blamed for giving excuses” Giles Simon relates to Daniil Medvedev losing against a ‘75% Rafael Nadal’

French veteran Gilles Simon sympathises with Daniil Medvedev for losing to Rafael Nadal, who was not 100%, in the finals of the Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Gilles Simon
Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Gilles Simon

30th January 2022 will remain a landmark in tennis history as it was the day when Rafael Nadal defeated Daniil Medvedev in the finals of the 2022 Australian Open to become the first man ever to win 21 Grand Slam titles. The fight that Nadal showed throughout the tournament will definitely be a legend in itself and the manner in which he won the finals will always be etched in history.

Nadal was 2-sets down going into the 3rd set and had to defend 3 breakpoints that could have given Medvedev a 4-2 lead in the 3rd set. Nadal not only did save those points, but he also won the next two sets to force a 5th set in the finals. The two Grand Slam champions played for 5 hours and 24 minutes before Nadal was crowned the champion in Melbourne Park.

Given that Nadal was returning to Grand Slam action after more than 6 months and in that period he had played only 5 Tour matches with 3 of those coming in January this year. Nadal had to battle physical challenges as well, receiving medical treatment for stomach in his 5-set quarter-final win as well and had lost 4kgs during the match. Despite these difficulties, the 35-year old managed to win it against Medvedev.

What Daniil went through against Rafa, we, during our careers, we tried to explain it sometimes, which we were blamed for because it sounded like an excuse: it’s hard to win, that. Sunday, I saw a Rafa who played 75% or even 70% of what he was playing before. 

“And that’s enough to dominate a Daniil who is almost the best player in the world on hard court at the moment when Novak is not there. You tell yourself that it’s his margin, in fact,” said French veteran Gilles Simons as reported by L’Equipe, comparing Medvedev’s defeat to some of his own defeats by Big-3 members who continue to dominate the sport for nearly 2 decades now.

Gilles Simon’s record against Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal and Gilles Simon
Rafael Nadal and Gilles Simon

Simon and Nadal met a total of 9 times on the court with Nadal winning 8 matches and Simon winning 1. Of the eight matches that Nadal won, the Spaniard dropped a set only once and was completely dominant on the Frenchman. Simon’s sole victory against Nadal came in the semi-finals of the 2008 Madrid Masters (played on indoor hardcourts) on his way to a runner-up finish losing to Andy Murray in the finals.

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