In a recent blast from the past, Nick Kyrgios voiced his astonishment at a sequence of points played by tennis icon Rafael Nadal against Ivo Karlovic during the 2015 Shanghai Masters' second round. The incredible video was a trip down memory lane, showcasing Nadal's impeccable return winners against Karlovic.
Earlier this week, TennisTV's X (previously known as Twitter) channel released this highlight, emphasizing the crucial first set where Nadal, trailing 3-5, staged a brilliant comeback. It didn't take long for Kyrgios to chime in, sharing the video with a succinct reaction: "Insane".
Insane https://t.co/6JHEl16elQ— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 27, 2023
The video zooms in on a moment when Nadal, at 15-15, smartly anticipates Karlovic's down-the-line serve. This quick thinking allows him to position himself perfectly to launch a forehand return winner. The pattern continues; another of Nadal's winners from a first serve brings him to a break point.
Nadal's Pivotal 2015 Shanghai Triumph
In a turning point of the match, Nadal capitalizes on Karlovic's second serve, converting his very first break point opportunity and ultimately taking the set 7-5. Despite facing a setback in the following tiebreaker set, Nadal emerged victorious with a 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-6(4) scoreline.
This significant victory, his fifth over Karlovic, was a confidence boost for the then-29-year-old Nadal. He later overpowered Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic in that tournament, only to be halted by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals.
Switching gears to current events, Rafael Nadal, now 37, has been conspicuously absent from the tennis circuit after a hip injury early in 2023. After undergoing surgery, the legendary player is diligently working through rehabilitation.
This year saw Nadal participating in just four professional matches. He began the year facing defeats from Alex de Minaur and Cameron Norrie in the ATP Cup group stages and made an early exit from the 2023 Australian Open. His injury forced withdrawals from major tournaments, including the Grand Slam events.
However, there's hope on the horizon. Toni Nadal, Rafael's uncle and coach, provided an encouraging update recently. Mentioning Rafa's good spirits and progress, Toni hinted at a potential return in the 2024 Australian Open. He told El Desmarque, "Rafa is fine, recovering. If everything goes well, he aims to return for the 2024 Australian Open."