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Rafael Nadal opens up on the ‘importance’ of Mexican Open title win – All You Need to Know-

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Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal eased to his 85th career title at the Mexican Open.

Rafael Nadal felt his latest success at the Mexican Open was an important moment in his season after he made an impressive return to action.

Following a quarterfinal exit to Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open that saw him lose the world number one ranking, the Spaniard earned his third Acapulco title without dropping a set.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal saw off Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the ATP 500 event for his 85th Tour-level title and first of 2020, taking momentum from his enjoyable spell in Mexico.

“After not competing since Australia, it’s an important week for me and an important moment,” said the 33-year-old.

“I couldn’t be happier. I played a great event from the beginning to the end. I played solid, with the right intensity, the right passion and my forehand worked well.

“This title doesn’t mean that I will have a great season. It means another good start. It gives me confidence and allows me to be in a privileged position in the ATP Race [To London].

“I am always happy after playing here. Now imagine how I am after getting the title!”

Nadal’s success came as rival Novak Djokovic also won this week, claiming a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championship.

Djokovic has an 18-0 record this season having won the ATP Cup with Serbia and followed that up with the Australian Open and his fifth crown in Dubai.

He joked about going the whole of 2020 unbeaten in his on-court interview and laughed it off again in a later discussion with reporters while explaining his determination to continue the hot streak.

“Of course, I’m trying to embrace the moment and appreciate where I am,” Djokovic said.

Rafael Nadal

“This has been one of the best starts of all seasons I had in my career. It has started in the most perfect way possible.

“I am aware, most of the matches that I’m going to play, the players will not have much to lose. They will go out and try to play their best and stop the streak.

“At the same time, the more I win, the more confident and comfortable I feel. I’m just grateful that I’m playing well, feeling well. I’ve won many matches now in a row. I’ll try to keep that run going.”

Nadal and Djokovic are both scheduled to return to action in Indian Wells for the first Masters 1000 event of the season from March 12.

Rafael Nadal calls Acapulco title an ‘important moment’
Rafael Nadal celebrate

Rafael Nadal has expressed his delight after emphatically winning the Mexican Open. Nadal was playing in his first event since losing at the Australian Open to Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals.

But the world No 2 showed little sign of rustiness in the final in Acapulco as he brushed aside American Taylor Fritz.

Fritz had never played in an ATP Tour 500 match and the gulf in quality was evident from the outset as Nadal dominated from the back of the court.

Rafael Nadal

The first set saw Nadal drop just three points on serve and apply heavy serve on Fritz to hold on to his own.

Nadal broke Fritz to lead 5-3 and held serve to love to seal the set 6-3.

In the second set, there was no let-up in Nadal’s dominance and the writing was on the wall when he broke Fritz again to lead 3-2.

A second break in the ninth game of the set gave Nadal a crucial cushion and after just 75 minutes the world No 2 raised his arms aloft in victory.

Rafael Nadal and jersey

And after the match, Nadal’s happiness at winning a third title in Acapulco was clear.

”After not competing since Australia, it’s an important week for me and an important moment,” Nadal told the ATP.

“I played solid, with the right intensity and the right passion, and my forehand worked well.

“This title doesn’t mean that I will have a great season. It means another good start of the season for me.

“It gives me confidence, allows me to be in a privileged position in the ATP Race [To London].

“At the end of the day, I’m still competing for these feelings that I am having right now.

“Regardless of the result, I am always happy after playing here. Now imagine how I am after getting the title.”

Rafael Nadal

Nadal now heads to Atlanta for an exhibition with Grigor Dimitrov before playing in the first Masters 1000 event of the year in Indian Wells.

ALL-TIME OPEN ERA CAREER TITLES

Jimmy Connors – 109

Roger Federer – 103

Ivan Lendl – 94

Rafael Nadal – 85

Novak Djokovic – 79

John McEnroe – 77

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