Rafael Nadal survived the toughest win of his career at the French Open today. The five-time Roland Garros champion was pushed to the very brink by John Isner before Nadal finally prevailed 64, 67, 67, 62, 64 in his first career five set match in Paris.
Tough, tough moments for me, no, because I only had one break point against during all the match,” Nadal said after the 4-hour marathon.
“I played too nervous, in my opinion,” Nadal said after the 4-hour marathon. “Without playing fantastic, but I never played fantastic the first round here, so wasn’t nothing unexpected. I was happy about how I was playing at the beginning. Having a tough opponent in front of them, winning set and break, I felt the match in the right position. But after that, you know, I lost that game. I didn’t play well the tiebreak, and I didn’t have chances to have the break.
When you play against these kind of players, the pressure is there all the time. You have to play all the time very safe. So I didn’t play free during all the match after the second set, no? So it was tough the rest of the match, and very happy to be through.”
The 6’10″ Isner had his serve humming and Nadal was left frustrated much of the match.
“Probably Karlovic have a better serve than Isner,” Nadal said. “But with these balls, is more dangerous probably return the serve of Isner, because Karlovic have a little bit more flat serve so the bounces are not that crazy. And the second serve is clean.”
Rafa went on say he has no problems with the controversial new balls and adds that they are better for him in general.
Nadal, who is 39-1 career at the French Open, advances to meet his countryman Pablo Andujar on Thursday in the second round.
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