Social media platforms were a-buzz yesterday morning: "He's winning", ‘He's just lost a set", It's 3-3 in the fourth set"... ‘He's won"!’ It appeared the whole country was paying attention to Rafa Nadal's resurrección which has been eagerly awaited with others unsure if it would ever materialise. Nadal certainly isn't an aging sportsman but he has played with such a level of intensity and commitment throughout his career that many of us (myself included) felt that his tennis career was on the decline. Yesterday changed that perception as we saw the old Nadal, playing with the same level of compromise and after five hours of an epic semi-final, he managed to overthrow Grigor Dimitrov.
Old school final
The final has yet to be staged of course as the Spaniard faces another revitalised player in Roger Federer. Nadal is now 30 years old and has spent two months recovering from a wrist problem, another in the ongoing catalogue of injuries he's had to contend with recently. Federer is 35 and was out of action for six months with a knee injury. His remarkable return to form is almost even more surprising than that of Nadals. AS columnist Juan Mora wrote recently how the Swiss player has developed a new aggressive style of play and proof of this is his 88 aces on his way to the final.
Over five years
A Nadal-Federer final is a gift for all tennis fans and many of us never imagined both players facing off in a major Grand slam final again. The last occasion when both players came face to face in a major final was at Roland Garros in 2011, over five and a half years ago. Federer himself joked about a potential final against Nadal stating "I thought myself and Rafa were destined to only play together in charity matches". Tomorrow's Australian Open final is no exhibition match and one can only hope that game is as good as the old classic tussles of old. An intriguing match of tennis awaits in Melbourne.