It happened. The Australian Open Men’s final 2017 is over, and it didn’t end the way I was hoping for it to end. I was all in for Nadal, I was rooting with all my heart for Nadal. I don’t dislike Federer, but I just
LOVE Nadal so much more. I didn’t want to write a post about the match, it still hurts too much. Rather, I’d like to write about the athlete who is, Rafael Nadal.
I’ve seen Nadal in his glory days and I’ve seen Nadal in his struggling years. Nadal is always fighting until the end. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to see him lose. You can see his pain when he’s working so hard for it, he’s hussling for each point, Nadal ALWAYS hussles. But when he loses his focus for one second, just for 1 or 2 points, when he’s not giving it his 100% for one moment, things can change quickly.
To be honest I wasn’t always a Nadal fan. When he first came on, he was blowing everybody away with his energy on court and I wasn’t necessarily a fan of somebody being that energetic. Then a few years later, his style changed and he became more composed and I remember reading an article about him. It was profiling a different Nadal. He is the guy who still takes the time to sign autographs after matches. He’s the guy who is humble and earnest. That article changed my view about Nadal. I started to watch his matches and I fell in love with his hussle.
Rafa’s way of playing is so taxing on his body. This is something everybody agreed upon in the early days, Nadal will not be able to play the same type of tennis when he gets older. He’s been struggling with injuries the past couple of years and he’s been playing with pain during that time. And for the first time since long, it seemed like he’s finally playing pain-free again.
Nadal making it into a Grand Slam final is more of surprise nowadays than it is the norm. But he made it happen. Regardless of the early exit of Djokovic and Murray, Nadal fought for his spot like the good old days. Maybe we are hoping for too much, maybe we should give Nadal a little more time to find his rhythm again. Nadal will be 31 this year, I’m just hoping he can end his career on a high note. We’ll be here, rooting for him as always.