At this point, we can only ask ourselves:
-What is Rafael Nadal still looking for? Why does he keep playing, if his foot is so battered?
If you ask the legend, then the legend resorts to commonplaces. And he hides behind modesty and common sense:
-I'm not thinking of rounding off the Grand Slam (accumulating the four majors in a single year). And I'm also not thinking of ending up as the male tennis player with the most big titles. We'll take stock when all this is over... –he said in Paris twenty days ago.
And yet, reflection is inevitable: Nadal is Nadal, and that condemns him to think big.
Is it in your genes?
Nadal must aspire to what is apparently impossible. Like chaining the four greats in one year (among men, only Rod Laver has achieved it, in 1962 and 1969; among women, Margaret Court in 70 and Steffi Graf in 88).
Or how to rise to 24 major titles, as many as Court, who is the absolute record holder.
When this 2022 is over, after months or years, there will be no way to describe what Nadal is achieving.
Well, while his left foot is decomposing, mistreated by a degenerative injury that has dragged on for fifteen years and is melting his scaphoid (Muller Weiss syndrome), and while he is looking for recurrent and transitory solutions to calm the pain, Nadal is adding titles and honors wherever he goes.
Lame and anguished, he has signed up for the two greats of the year – the Australian Open and Roland Garros – and now he has focused on Wimbledon, the third episode of a supreme exercise. Isn't he so lame, isn't he so distressed?
Come on, you have to go by steps, match by match, as cholismo demands.
In this Wimbledon, Nadal (36) has gone to take his first step this Tuesday, in his debut, against an Argentine unknown to the general public but playful and uninhibited like few others.
Francisco Cerúndolo is 23 years old and is 41st in the world today, and he has barely passed a round in the three Grand Slams he has played so far, just three majors in his career.
Well, this time he has dedicated himself to thinking about the impossible, a bit on the scale of his rival, who also thinks about the impossible: for Cerúndolo, the impossible was to beat Nadal.
And yet, he has not shrunk from the challenge.
Cerúndolo has played Argentina, like Gaudio or Coria, even like Schwartzman, and at times like Del Potro – he was solid on serve – and with those tools he has tried to shake Nadal, a legend with a foot of clay whose start vertically, forward, has its limitations.
Dropshots and balloons handled by Cerúndolo, especially in the first five games, when the legend warmed up his engines and, his foot anesthetized, he rethought before running. Nadal was going to suffer some trouble, before accelerating to take over the first set and then moving a meter forward in his position from the back of the court, as he needed an antidote for the drops.
Assimilated the state of things, the match tended to stabilize for Nadal: he had already mounted Cerúndolo and the Argentine already seemed incapable of the impossible, defeating a stubborn Nadal, until he reappeared in the third set to sign up and lengthen a step commitment.
Anesthetized and definitely stubborn, Nadal was going to accelerate in the outcome, chaining four games, to look forward, where Berankis appears, the second stop in this race.
A couple of hours earlier, Paula Badosa had spent 56 minutes getting rid of Louise Chirico (6-2, 6-1).