Alex Corretja believes Rafael Nadal’s stunning Australian Open success will have given him “unbelievable motivation” to win more Grand Slam titles.
Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in a thrilling final in Melbourne to win his 21st major, moving him one ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time standings.
This was arguably the most improbable major victory of his career given he missed the last five months of 2021 with a foot problem and then tested positive for Covid-19 at the start of the year.
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He was also two sets to love down against world No. 2 Medvedev in the final.
“I have no doubt that for Rafa this is unbelievable motivation for the present and for the future,” two-time French Open finalist Corretja told Eurosport.
“For Rafa to win the Australian Open, it should give him some fresh air to go into Roland Garros and make a good schedule to get there the best he can.
“He doesn't need to play 10 more tournaments before Roland Garros. He only needs to choose exactly where he wants to be and how he's going get to Roland Garros in the perfect condition to win another major.
“I think if he is in good shape it's going to be super difficult to beat him, but there are still many months to go and we need to go day by day, step by step, because tennis has shown us that everything can change in one point.”
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Nadal has lost in four previous Australian Open finals and also blew a two-set lead to lose to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals in 2021.
But he came through a tough five-setter against Denis Shapovalov in the quarter-finals this time around before rallying from the brink to beat Medvedev in an epic match that lasted over five hours.
“He had the experience of losing tough matches against Novak and Roger [Federer]… I think that helped him,” said Corretja.
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“Because he had that feeling, that experience from the past, somehow he knew that he needed to go until the end.
“The fact that he was losing two sets to love showed that he is someone different, he's got something in his mind that he will never give up.
“And this is not about the match yesterday, this is about 25, 30 years working on becoming a better player - and then, when the moment arrives, you are ready. Otherwise it's impossible to achieve that.”
Medvedev, 25, looked to be in control of the final before Nadal, with the Rod Laver crowd firmly on his side, managed to turn things around.
Corretja admits he was “very surprised” that Nadal managed to get back into the match after largely being outplayed by Medvedev for the first two sets.
“The level of both players was very high and you can see that it was very difficult for Rafa to hurt Medvedev’s game. That's why I had some doubts that Nadal would have the chance to come back.
“Daniil was showing no weaknesses on the court, serving great, moving well, mentally focused and he knew what he needed to do to win.
“That's why for me it was very surprising and shocking that Rafa was able to turn it around and win in five sets."
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