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Rafa Nadal has broken a new record in his career. The win over Evans (xxx and xx) was the 17th in a row this season, matching Federer’s and Sampras’ record for best start to a season. The Spaniard advanced in one more round in Indian Wells after the scare of the first day. So did Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Roberto Bautista (6-2, 6-0). On the same day, Medvedev relinquished the number one spot to Djokovic three weeks later.

Rafa’s season began with epic. And as if it were a suspense movie. Nadal had problems with his foot, as seen in the photo that went viral after the victory in Australia. In the final in Melbourne he faced Medvedev, who did not benefit from the advantage of two sets to defeat the Spaniard. His endurance was the vitamin he needed to add the 20th Grand Slam to his career.

The difficulties were many for Rafa in recent months, when the pain in his foot was enormous. In fact, there was speculation about a possible withdrawal that he himself confirmed. “A month and a half ago I didn’t know if I was going to play tennis again. It’s one of the most exciting moments of my career. I didn’t know if this would be my last Australian Open, but now I’m full of energy to keep going,” he acknowledged. Nadal after the triumph in Melbourne.

Nadal. (Reuters/Jayne Kamin)

A pain that has not gone away

The pain in the foot, however, still continues. This is the main reason why Rafa has given up participating in the Miami tournament. He explained it this way when the season began: “My scaphoid split in half, it is a problem without a solution. It is something that will not be forgotten for the rest of my life. Another thing is that he let me compete with more or less guarantees. What the rest of the season is little baggage to have a clear conclusion. I don’t think the conditions for the rest of my career are going to be perfect. We have to face the future with positivism and sporting guarantees.”

The start in Indian Wells served to verify that Rafa is still not completely well. Although he overwhelmingly won the first set, Korda put him on the spot in both the second and third. In fact, in the last one it was lower on the scoreboard (5-2). That’s when his body deserves an investigation. It is difficult to believe that he achieved the comeback with such pain in his foot; Something incredible.

Nadal himself acknowledged after the match that the defeat was very close to losing: “I thought I lost. And in Australia I had a very similar feeling. That, however, does not mean that he will not keep trying or keep fighting. Even if I think I’m going to lose the game, my mindset is to keep playing and finish the game with the best feeling possible. That’s why I struggle to find them in the last game.”

Nadal. (Reuters/Jayne Kamin)

Djokovic’s mark

Rafa’s goal is to win the Indian Wells tournament. If that happened, he would equal Djokovic’s record, the tennis player with the most Master 1,000 (37). You may have to come back on another occasion throughout the competition, although he recognized that this is not usual: “If people think that I believe all the time I will come back, it is not true. I do not have this incredible confidence in myself. In my mind, I do not want to give up. I keep trying. Normal In this type of game, in that position, you lose 90 out of 100. If you give up, you lose 100. If you’re there, you can win that 10%”.

Nadal has made something typical out of the abnormal, which is why this start of the season is more surprising than ever. For his ability to bounce back when it was hardest. Because his foot was in very bad shape. It is unknown if Rafa is a believer, but what has happened to his foot is something similar to what the Bible relates: “Lazarus, get up and walk.”

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