Rafael Nadal released by Tommy Paul as soon as he entered the Rolex Paris Masters

Home » Rafael Nadal released by Tommy Paul as soon as he entered the Rolex Paris Masters
Rafael Nadal released by Tommy Paul as soon as he entered the Rolex Paris Masters

The image is harsh, but so telling. At 4-1 for Tommy Paul in the third set, Rafael Nadal remained for a long time with his head down, dripping, as if the weight of defeat was already on his shoulders. In fact, it is really physically that the Spaniard seems to have lost this match. While Paul showed a serene face, Nadal had his eyes widened and was clearly no longer playing at his usual level.

Absent from the circuit since the US Open and his round of 16 loss to Frances Tiafoe, Nadal was clearly in need of cash for his recovery. His recent paternity may be part of the answer. Perhaps not the only one, as the season of the “Manacor bull” was physically complicated.

When the legs were still responding, Nadal did Nadal. In the first set, we saw him solid, capable of launching missiles from the baseline that jostled Paul and pushed him to the fault. Admittedly, he was the first to let go of his service (2-1), but we said to ourselves that it was due to his recovery. Especially since he erased this handicap in the process and broke again to lead 5-3 before concluding without fear on his service.

Nadal deludes in the first set

First set acquired, one could imagine a quiet evening for the Spaniard. Break in hand, he seemed to be heading for a post-match press conference where he would be able to give his impressions after his successful return. But Tommy Paul didn’t hear it that way. Capable of dazzling from the back and far from being clumsy at the net, the American did more than resist Nadal in this second set, he gradually extinguished him.

By hanging on to unbreak, but above all by setting up your rhythm. Unable to launch the fight in the long term, Nadal was no longer the master of the court. Always behind in the score in the tie-break, he was never able to complete the match in straight sets. And, quickly, it was obvious that he would not win in three either. His physical downfall could not be ignored. Walked on the court by his opponent, Nadal only had his left arm to plant a few scattered banderillas. Far too insufficient to hope for anything other than this premature exit in a tournament which, decidedly, will never have succeeded.

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