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Rafael Nadal: ‘It feels great to win Acapulco after a couple of preparation years’

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Rafael Nadal smiles

Back in 2005, an 18-year-old Rafael Nadal stormed over the field in Acapulco to win the third ATP title, gathering momentum for one of the best seasons for teenagers in the Open era that saw him winning 11 crowns overall.

Fifteen years later, the Spaniard stands as one of the greatest players of all time, lifting 19 Major trophies and finishing as the year-end no. 1 player five times to match Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic who achieved that before him.

Rafael Nadal

In 2013, Nadal was the last Acapulco champion on clay, demolishing the three-time defending champion David Ferrer in the title match en route to another incredible season following an injury that ruined the previous year for him.

Seven years later and 15 after the first crown in Mexico, Rafa went all the way last week to claim the third title in Acapulco, losing 25 games in ten sets to grab the 85th ATP trophy and the first since the US Open last year.

Rafael Nadal hair

Nadal didn’t lose more than three games in nine out of ten sets last week, dominating against Soonwoo Kwon, Grigor Dimitrov and Taylor Fritz in the final three matches to lift the trophy and extend his already record-breaking streak of 17 seasons with at least one ATP title.

After beating the young American in the final, Rafa admitted he felt relieved after finishing the job and receiving the award, especially after a slower start of the season and a couple of early exits in Acapulco in the previous two years.

Rafael Nadal

Also, he hopes to build confidence and stay on the winning course in Indian Wells as well, fighting with Novak Djokovic for world no. 1 spot at the first Masters 1000 event of the season. “I am pleased about my performance from Acapulco; it is a significant title for me.

It came after a bad start of the year and a very little rest following the Davis Cup Finals, giving me confidence ahead of the upcoming tournaments. Acapulco is one of the best events in the world and it means even more to me after knowing I hadn’t played well here in the last couple of years.

Rafael Nadal bottle

We will celebrate the title and prepare for the next test in Indian Wells, hoping to keep the winning streak and fight for the trophy again.”

Taylor Fritz: It was an honor to play against Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal and Taylor fritz

Taylor Fritz, 22, drew positives from his Acapulco campaign after falling just short of winning it all as he insisted it was an honor to play against world No. 2 Rafael Nadal. Fritz, ranked at No. 35 in the world, stood no chance against Nadal in his maiden Acapulco final as the top-seeded Spaniard won 6-3 6-2.

Rafael Nadal hair

It was the first meeting between 22-year-old Fritz and 33-year-old Nadal. The American has now played at least once against each member of the Big Three group — which also includes record world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and record 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.

Rafael Nadal

“You always wish you could win, but I still have to take positives out of this week. It was an honour to step on the court with Rafa. I’ve played Roger and Novak, the other two people I watched when I was a kid. To play with Rafa, who I’ve watched since I was a kid, it’s pretty crazy when you step back to think about it,” Fritz said after losing the Acapulco final, via the ATP Tour.

Rafael Nadal wave

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