[CR3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [CR55] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)
There is no place to hide on the tennis court and when you are lacking confidence, all areas of your game are affected and on display for the world to see. Nadal will work through this phase; however, the process may be slow and his game may be uncharacteristically sloppy and difficult for his fans to watch. Nadal is a champion though and will give everything within to overcome his demons.
It was not a good performance by Nadal’s standards. Carreno Busta had chances, but like many lower ranked players, he thought about the possibility of upsetting Nadal and when he needed to execute his shots, he could not. Carreno Busta tested Nadal and a higher ranked player may have walked away with the victory, instead Nadal won 7-5, 6-3. He continues on to the next round, hoping his game will begin to improve.
Every player goes through a period where their confidence dips. It may come about as a result of physical injury or it may be the result of internal issues. It definitely has not helped that Nadal has struggled his entire career with knee problems. We will never know the physical much less the psychological toll his injured knees have caused. Since we have gotten so accustomed to Nadal bouncing back, we are struggling to come to terms with this fragile Nadal. Yet, we can also appreciate how much of a fighter he really is to keep doing this in such a public arena as the tennis court. Whether he gets back to his dominant and confident self or not, I will always be proud of him. He has always been the consummate professional and every young tennis player should learn from his positive and determined attitude. He will take each victory as a positive and use it to propel him forward.