I was posing Rafael Nadal happy, again with a mariachi hat and biting the Guaje de Plata, the pear-shaped trophy that accredits him as the winner of the last edition of the Acapulco tournament. Add three and the Balearic, champion in 2005, when he was still almost a child, and then in 2013, the last time he played on clay. Now, being a full-fledged thirties, married and with an overwhelming collection of successes – 85 individual awards, 101 in total and 19 greats -, he celebrates for the third time in Mexico, a place that gives him good vibes and where this Sunday (6 -3 and 6-2 Taylor Fritz, in 1h 14m) closed a perfect week from the competitive level.
“It means adding a very important title to my record, and winning here is always unique because of the closeness I have with the Mexican public. I like to win anywhere, but there are many things that unite Spain and this country. In addition, I have been in Cozumel and Cancun, although I still do not know DF … Whenever I come here I perceive fantastic hospitality and that is always special, ”said the Manacor, smiling at the most because he could not inject the energy injection of these days he added his first laurel of the season, which started with some curves for a matter of timing.
“It’s an important title for me, at an important time of the season. It came from having a beginning of the year not bad, but better, because I got a little saturated; I didn’t have much rest time at the end of last season, so this week it was important to gain confidence. I’m going with the goal more than met, ”said Nadal, hegemonic to another rival who could do very little. He tried Fritz, an American who develops with skill on the clay, but found himself in front of a wall that has not let a single partial escape in the last seven days.
Except for a slight and logical lapse in the takeoff before Pablo Andújar and the timid replica of Miomir Kecmanovic, the Mallorcan made his way to the pear that now bites without opposition. Kwon and Dimitrov did not even tickle him, and his level of play has been in frank progression. Fantastic stimulus in the face of what lies ahead, the quotes from Indian Wells and Miami, and timely response to Novak Djokovic, winner the previous day in Dubai: if you win, me too. There is no truce between the two, apparently called to star in a duet season for the sudden departure of Roger Federer until the end of June, four months, due to a knee injury.
Nadal triumphed this Sunday and, in this way, there are already 17 courses in which he earns at least one title. It started in Sopot (Poland), 2004, and since then it has always added. In addition, it ended the Spanish drought in these first two months of 2020, in which no national player had managed to catch any trophy. And Nadal did it with ease and without trouble, relentless before Fritz. The American, 22 years old and 35th in the world list, tried to impose that powerful right that defines him, but he cut for the sake and approached the objective decisively. He dictated with him drive and he shone the rest before a good punch; reduced the number of errors to the minimum expression (8) and shredded without regard.
Fritz resisted until the eighth game, but after the first break the duel was uneven and Nadal sailed at pleasure. In the second set he released a stalemate again, breaking the fifth, and became the most veteran winner (33 years) of an event in which, in 2005, three years ago, almost nothing, he was crowned the youngest champion. “The only thing I trust in having done for tennis is to have left a good example for boys and girls; afterwards, winning or losing is part of the sport. If there is one thing I wish I could say is that I have transmitted positive things on and off the track, ”said Mariachi Nadal, who on March 2 will play an exhibition in Atlanta and then play another (Eisenhower Cup) before embarking on the assault on the Coachella Valley.
Interestingly, Nadal (33 years) and Djokovic (32) did not raise a title in the same week for seven years, and then they also celebrated in Acapulco and the emirate, respectively. In 2010, the two also synchronized, when the Spanish was awarded Tokyo and the Serbian Beijing. At present they maintain a hand in hand in which, for the moment, the Balkan is prevailing, which this week has managed to retain the number one.
In fact, the one that starts will be the 281st at the top of the ranking, noting too far the Federer 310. The one in Belgrade landed in Dubai with 325 points ahead of Nadal, which was taken away from the throne last February 3 when it was imposed in the Australian Open, and now the rent is growing in its favor since it has added 500 points in the emirate and the 455 Balearic in Mexico, since last year reached the second round.
This Monday, Djokovic will dawn with 370 points of advantage: 10,220-9,850.
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