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‘I don’t know where to put Rafael Nadal’, says expert

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Rafael Nadal lost ground a bit in 2015 after failing to win a Major or a Masters 1000 crown. The Spaniard tried to bounce back in 2016 and suffered a severe loss to Novak Djokovic in Doha. To make matters even worse, Nadal suffered a first round loss at the Australian Open in a duel against Fernando Verdasco.

Heading to South America for his beloved clay, Rafa entered the ATP 250 event in Buenos Aires as the defending champion. He faced Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals and suffered a heavy defeat 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 in two hours and 50 minutes after wasting a match point.

Rafa disposed of his good friend Juan Monaco and Paolo Lorenzi en route to the semi-final, where he faced the young Austrian. Dominic withstood all the stakes to prevail and score one of the most notable victories of his young career.

Thiem got five more points than Nadal and produced more efficient numbers after the second serve. The Austrian saved four of seven break points and broke Rafa three times out of eight chances. Nadal gave his best to emerge on top, but squandered a match point and experienced another setback.

They had a similar number of winners, and Nadal added more unforced errors. The Spaniard forced many errors from the youngster but was unable to break his resistance in the decider. Thiem had the advantage in the shorter rallies, up to four shots, while nothing separated them in the mid-distance exchanges.

The Spaniard built a slight advantage on rarely extended points with ten or more shots, not enough to propel him. Nadal pulled a break in the second game of the match when Thiem sent a long backhand for a perfect start.

Rafa Nadal is recovering

A well-known tennis analyst on the circuit for officiating on the Tennis Channel and working with the US Open, Gill Gross recently had fun drawing up categories (or third parties) between the best players on the circuit.

And if his ranking has nothing scandalous at first sight, the American knowingly forgot to mention a certain Rafael Nadal. Here is his explanation… “I think there is a level 1. In level 1 there is Djokovic and Alcaraz. One could say that Djokovic perhaps belongs to a level apart.

Let Alcaraz play tennis before placing it there. Tsitsipas is in tier 2. I think he is alone in tier 2. Zverev is gone, Medvedev is not good at the moment. Let me tell you right now that I don’t know where to put Nadal. I don’t include Nadal in all of this.

He is in a waiting period for me. It does not belong to any category. Tier 3? Lots of players. I think Casper Ruud should be placed there. I think you have to put Felix Auger-Aliassime there. I think Holger Rune needs to be put there.

I think you have to put Jannik Sinner there. Then come Taylor Fritz, Andrey Rublev, Cameron Norrie,” he said on his Youtube channel.

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