By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday June 16, 2021
In a column for El Pais, Toni Nadal wrote that he was hoping a victory by Stefanos Tsitsipas over Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s Roland-Garros final would temper the disappointment of his nephew’s loss to the world No.1 in the semi-finals.
“The only thing that could have alleviated a bit of disappointment over Rafael’s defeat in their Roland Garros semi-final match against Novak Djokovic would have been that he was defeated in the final by Stefanos Tsitsipas,” he wrote.
Nadal wrote that he believed Tsitsipas was one of the few players that he felt had the game to topple Djokovic on the clay this year, but it didn’t come to fruition.
OPINIÓN | “Durante los años que acompañé a mi sobrino, cada vez que se ponía con dos mangas a su favor, mi consigna era muy clara: ‘Rafael, máxima atención ahora’. Es comprensible que ocurra lo contrario. Eso le pasó a Tsitsipas”. Por TONI NADAL.https://t.co/Ob39wUHnhd
— EL PAÍS Deportes (@elpais_deportes) June 13, 2021
“Throughout these last two weeks of competition I was telling my children,” he said. “The player that I saw as most capable of beating the Serbian on clay if the opportunity arose, apart from my nephew, of course, was precisely the Greek. And for much of the meeting I held out hope that it would happen.”
Nadal said that if there was anything that Tsitsipas should regret in the wake of the final, it was his inability to seize on important moments early in the third set.
“In the first games of the first set, Stefanos lacked some aggression, and that extra concentration more experienced players often give in the important moments,” he wrote. “Djokovic took notice of the situation, increased his pace of play and maintained the same intensity until the end. He went from dominated to dominator, and as the games progressed, I think we all had the feeling that the scoreboard was going to be definitively pronounced in favor of the Serbian.”
In the end Nadal says that Novak has taken a big step in the race for the all-time lead in Grand Slam titles, and adds that he believes his nephew will be able to take home one of the next two majors.
“We saw a good game and a denouement that brings Novak dangerously close to Federer and Rafael, in their struggle to close their respective careers as the greatest conqueror of Grand Slam titles,” he wrote. “The next two tournaments, Wimbledon and the US Open, will probably be decisive in unveiling it. I would not dare to venture conclusions, but I do dare to maintain the confidence that it is my nephew who raises one of the two.”