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'It is pretty surreal' - Alex de Minaur talks about his experience of facing Rafael Nadal on grass

Published at :June 24, 2024 at 10:14 AM
Modified at :June 24, 2024 at 10:14 AM
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(Courtesy : X/@alexdeminaur and @wimbledon)

Shashank Tripathi

Rafael Nadal leads Alex de Minaur 4-2 in their all-time head-to-head record

Australian tennis star Alex de Minaur has spoken about facing Rafael Nadal on grass. Nadal is famous for his unparalleled success on the red dirt, where he has won 14 Grand Slam titles.

However, the Spaniard is also a two-time Wimbledon champion. In 2008, he defeated the Swiss Maestro Roger Federer to win his first Grass court Major. Two years apart, Nadal won his second Wimbledon title in 2010 by stunning Tomas Berdych.

De Minaur faced Nadal for the first time in the 2018 Wimbledon championships. They locked horns in the third round, where the Spaniard recorded a comfortable 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory. Talking about facing the King of Clay, De Minaur stated that Nadal plays more physically on the green surface.

He said, “His backhand cross and his chip were just. And obviously, he had been more aggressive on the grass, and it just felt like so much physical even on the grass. I can only imagine him on a clay court.”

The Australian tennis star added, “To be honest, what got me was obviously, you watch him, right? At this stage, I had never really hit with him. So it was my first time on court with him. Obviously, playing center court at Wimbledon for the first time. It is pretty surreal.”

The Aussie defeated Nadal for the first time in their fourth meeting. The win came in the group stage of the 2023 United Cup. Alex de Minaur stated that one has to lose all the respect they have for Nadal to beat him.

Minaur concluded, “But it did take me a couple of times to kind of get past that “playing Rafa” stage. You just, like, have to almost lose all respect you have for him and just play him as another player. Because that’s not easy.”

Also Read: ‘I have the picture at home,’ – Roger Federer reflects on his friendship with Rafael Nadal

Alex de Minaur and Rafael Nadal have faced each other twice in 2024. After a prolonged hiatus, Nadal made his comeback with tennis at the 2024 Barcelona Open, where he faced De Minaur in the second round. Nadal lost the match 7-5, 6-1.

However, they crossed paths in the second round of the 2024 Madrid Open. However, Nadal was quick to complete redemption over the Australian tennis star in the ATP 1000 event in straight sets.

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