Rafael Nadal ‘Grew Mentally’ With Novak Djokovic’s Absence at Australian Open 2022, Says Legendary Coach Rick Macci

Published 01/28/2022, 8:01 AM EST
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 10: Rafael Nadal of Spain (L) and Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a forehand react after watching a video replay while on the sidelines during the Tie Break Tens ahead of the 2018 Australian Open at Margaret Court Arena on January 10, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was forced to skip the Australian Open 2022 due to visa complications, caused by his stance on vaccination. The eight-time Australian Open champion’s absence opened the door for other players, and the returning Rafael Nadal is in that list, according to the legendary coach Rick Macci. 

Although most of the youngsters must have relished the opportunity due to Novak’s absence, the Spanish veteran has played extremely well over the past two weeks and has landed up in the final of the first major of the season. 

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Rafael Nadal has reached the final of the Australian Open and will face Daniil Medvedev for the trophy. The Spaniard has previously reached the finals in 2019 and 2017 most recently. 

During 2019 final, he lost to the Serb. It was one-way traffic as the World No. 1 player showed no remorse on his way to winning the title back then. 

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Therefore, had Djokovic been present in Melbourne for the Australian Open this year, he would have been the overwhelming favorite for the title. He has been the most successful player at this tournament, winning it nine times in the past. 

Speaking on Rafa’s path towards the final of the first Grand Slam event of the season, Serena Williams’ former coach Rick Macci felt that the non-appearance of the Serb has paved the way for Nadal. He stated, “Once the joker was out of the open Rafa grew mentally to another level of determination.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain after the ATP Cup Final that Serbia won in 3 sets on day 10 of the ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The final of the Australian Open between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev will be on Sunday and it will be interesting to see who ends up on the winning side. We wish both contenders the best of luck. 

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Rohan Kollare

1671 articles

Rohan Kollare is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Rohan has studied Sports Management and has a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering Tennis and Formula One.

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