After defeating Jannik Sinner, Rafael Nadal said, “His level is getting higher.”
In Rome in 2021, Rafael Nadal and Jannik Sinner had their second encounter. Top-20 players faced off in the second round, and Nadal won 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and eleven minutes. Rafa commended his youthful rival for his powerful shots and ongoing development.
Following his defeat to Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinal of the Madrid Open, the Spaniard overcame a difficult challenge and returned to the winning ways. At Roland Garros in 2020, Jannik challenged Rafa for almost three hours. The following spring, he repeated the feat at Foro Italico in his country.
The young player three times had a break advantage but still lost after losing in the last moments of both sets. In order to counter the opponent’s potent groundstrokes, Rafa played aggressive tennis. He also had the advantage in key situations to win the match in straight sets.
In the first set, Jannik twice had the advantage until Rafa came back to win 7-5 and gain a significant advantage. Nine-time Foro Italico champion rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the second set to win the final four games and take first place.
Rafa was happy with his performance because he handled himself well on the court in the face of a formidable foe.
In Rome 2021, Rafael Nadal defeated Jannik Sinner after a struggle.
“I performed many tasks successfully and generated a strong level; it was a successful match for me.
I’m pleased with the outcome because Jannik is a fierce rival. The triumph makes me very happy. Jannik is a complete player who keeps getting better. The changes take time to become apparent. Do you need to consistently monitor the players’ tournaments to see their development? If you keep up with Jannik, you’ll notice that his level keeps rising.
His backhand and forehand are excellent, so I had to get close and maintain my position without moving back. I used some effective crosscourt forehands to block his powerful down the line or backhand crosses. I feel like I did well. I am not surprised by his level because I am aware of his powerful blows.
I entered the court with respect for Jannik and was fully concentrated on every play. I was able to win thanks to that. The night session was when we played, and the pace was slow. Rome is not like Madrid; you cannot significantly effect the game with your serve, particularly at night.
In slow conditions, Jannik lost his serve five times, but he still had a chance to win the game, according to Rafael Nadal.