Australian Open: Rafael Nadal reacts to win over Michael Mmoh
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Cameron Norrie went with the wrong approach for his match against Rafael Nadal, according to seven-time men’s Grand Slam singles champion Mats Wilander. Nadal beat Norrie in straight sets in their Australian Open third round clash on Saturday. It was the pair’s first match against each other and the Spaniard came out on top 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 at Rod Laver Arena.
Speaking after the encounter, Wilander said he was impressed by Norrie’s performance.
However, he believes the 25-year-old Brit should instead have adopted a similar approach to Novak Djokovic when it comes to playing Nadal.
Wilander says Norrie should not have gone into Nadal’s backhand as much as he did.
“[Norrie] did very well,” the Swede said on Eurosport. “It was a good match from Norrie and maybe a step in the right direction.
“But I think he was playing way too much to Nadal’s backhand and you can’t do that.
“You go into this match thinking, ‘If I’m going to beat Rafa, I need to look at what Novak Djokovic does’, for example.
“Going straight to the backhand is a nightmare scenario. Nadal, I love it when he’s that aggressive with his court positioning in the returns.
“He [Norrie] played a good match, and obviously it’s much easier to say from the outside than when you’re out there and you realise how good Nadal is.”
Nadal has been battling a back injury throughout the tournament so far.
But the 34-year-old says Saturday was the first day he has felt improvement in the area.
“It’s less pain. That’s all. The back was not getting better each day, it was getting better today,” Nadal said.
“Today is better, yeah. First day I feel an improvement, and that’s the most important thing for me today, more than any other thing.
“I need to come back to my normal serving. I was serving quite well. So of course I was not serving my normal serve for the last 15 days.
“Today is the first day that I started to serve again my normal serve. But yesterday I didn’t practice, so today just warming up with the new, with the normal movement.
“So of course I didn’t serve bad, but I can do better, I think. And I’m looking forward to do it better, no?
“It’s been an important victory for me. The biggest victory is the back is better for the first day. So that’s the most important thing.”
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