Mats Wilander has admitted he got "goosebumps" watching Rafael Nadal’s performance in his latest win at the Australian Open.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner beat Adrian Mannarino in straight sets to advance to the quarter-finals but had to come through a epic first set tie-break which lasted 28 minutes - one Wilander described as ‘unbelievable’.
Speaking in Eurosport’s Cube afterwards, Wilander was in awe of the sheer will to win shown by Nadal not allowing himself to lose the set, even though he would still have been expected to win the match in the end.
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“It's just one set!” remarked an excited Wilander. “I mean, it's one set and if Rafa loses this set, nothing changes in his energy level, he's still going to win this match, it's just going to take an extra set and going to be four sets.
“But still, the fact that he's that emotionally involved, and when he most probably knows that in 49 matches out of 50, he's going to win the next three sets against Mannarino.
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“And of course, he won easily, but he's unbelievable. I get goosebumps when I watch him and I hope he never goes away.
“He's fantastic as a problem solver and as a motivating figure in my life, to be honest.”
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- Nadal sees off injured Mannarino after epic first set tie-break to reach quarters
Nadal, 35, is chasing a record 21st major in Melbourne having battled back from injury and Jo Konta believes he still has all the attributes to conquer the tennis world yet again.
“In terms of his level, I think Rafa is still working his way back," Konta claimed. "But we 100% saw the great Rafa when it came to problem solving, when it came to spirit, to fight, to passion.
“I mean, that's there, that's just Rafael Nadal. And, when you put that together with his unbelievable level, that's how he's got 20 Slams, and hopefully counting.”
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