Rafael Nadal’s outing against Kevin Anderson last weekend, in the ongoing Australian Open, had risen a little bit of hope among his fans about his chances in the tournament.
The fans were starting to believe that the Spaniard, despite not having had the ideal preparation, could challenge the other top of players for the title. But, it wasn’t to be.
The 11-time Grand Slam Champion was absolutely ripped apart by Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic yesterday.
It was a straight set thrashing and it had more to do with Nadal’s fitness than his form.
The 28-year old did not appear to be in the right physical shape to take part in the quarter final round of a Grand Slam tournament. He was going through the motion, but, not for a second did he look like challenging his opponent out there. The intent, power, nothing was there.
In just 60 minutes or so, the first two sets were done and dusted with and all Nadal could win by that time was a couple of games. Yes, only a couple of games.
The third set got stretched a little further as finally there was some competition shown in that by Nadal, but, he was slowly giving up. Everyone present there could almost feel that he was not going to be able to avoid the straight-set defeat.
However, with the immaculate mental strength that he has, Nadal kept fighting and managed to take the set into the tie breaker and if he had been fully fit, he could have turned the match around from that stage too. He possesses that sort of ability.
But, that wasn’t a 100% Nadal playing there. The fitness was only about 70 or 80% and he had to lose against an in form player. That was inevitable really
The score card, at the end, was showing 6-0, 6-2, 7-6 (5) in Berdych’s favour.
From these numbers, one can easily make out what sort of day it was for Nadal.