Rafael Nadal did quite well at Rio Olympics, and he is certainly going use the momentum going forward in Cincinnati. He won doubles gold in Brazil, and instead of taking a break from tennis with his future wife Maria Francisca Perello, he is charging ahead to the Cincinnati Open.
Despite his injuries, Rafa participated at this year’s Olympics, probably knowing that it is his final chance to snatch a gold medal. In singles, he failed to get past Juan Del Potro, another player suffering from injuries, in the semifinal, which dashed his dream.
“Having already stunned Novak Djokovic in this tournament, del Potro advanced to the gold-medal match by beating Nadal, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5),” reports the Washington Post. “Del Potro advanced to face Andy Murray on his second match point in the tiebreak, because winning the first would not have been right for this epic match.”
But that defeat wasn’t so bitter as he had just won gold with his doubles partner Marc Lopez days before. They won the third gold medal for Spain.
“This evening’s final was a battle from start to finish,” reports Rio 2016. “After two hours and 26 minutes, Nadal and Lopez finally overcame Mergea and Tecau 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.”
“I play with passion, with emotion and it’s a very special event; a unique event for everybody,” Nadal said.
Right before the start of Olympics, the tennis player admitted that he is not feeling his 100 percent.
“My wrist is not perfect. My wrist needs more time,” the Spaniard said. “If it was a ‘normal’ tournament on the circuit, I wouldn’t be here. My wrist is not perfect. It isn’t 100 percent. There’s only one chance every four years to experience an Olympic Games. It’s something unforgettable. I missed the last one in London, so I didn’t want to miss this one.”
For the tennis player, who has been struggling to gain back his former glory, this gold medal was a big win. It was probably made up for missing the French Open and Wimbledon this year.
Throughout 2016 Rio Olympics, the Spaniard, who also carried the flag at the opening ceremony, has been super supportive of Team Spain. He tweeted many congratulatory comments, exposing other obscure athletes to his international fanbase.
Now that he is back in the swing of things, he is trying his luck at the Cincinnati Open.
“He is scheduled to face Cuevas for the fourth time on Wednesday at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament,” reports ATP World Tour. “Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-1 but lost their most recent contest on the clay in Rio de Janeiro in February.
“He has been dealing with this for many, many years,” his coach said. “Hopefully he can keep playing at his best. Nadal is still hungry. If there is someone who knows how to come back after injuries, it’s him. There is no doubt about it.”
Taking time off from professional tennis has been hard for Rafael Nadal. But it was a blessing in disguise as he got to spend more time at home in Mallorca with his long-time girlfriend and Maria Francisca Perello.
When he had to miss out on Wimbledon, he spent time relaxing with Maria, showing that he will continue to concentrate on the positive side of life.
“Tennis ace Rafael Nadal was taking his mind off his ailment on Saturday as he soaked up the sun in Formentera, Spain with his long-term girlfriend Xisca Perello, 28,” reports the Daily Mail. “Off the court, Rafael showed off his impressive form on a yacht, celebrating his 30th birthday in style with friends, instead of aggravating his sports injury.”
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[Photo by Charles Krupa/AP Images]