Rafael Nadal credited for emerging star’s maiden title after Spaniard made him ‘angry’ | Tennis | Sport


One of Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon victims has credited the Spaniard for giving him the fire to win a maiden ATP Tour title at the Swedish Open. Francisco Cerundolo pushed the world No 3 to four sets in the opening round at the All England Club before crashing out and has now shared how he channelled his “anger” into success in Bastad.

Nadal’s Wimbledon run came to an end when he was forced to withdraw ahead of his semi-final with an abdominal injury. But it wasn’t smooth sailing for the 36-year-old as he dropped four sets in five matches, including his opening round against Cerundolo.

The 23-year-old suffered a 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-4 defeat to the second seed at SW19 a few weeks ago but has now followed it up with his first tour title and maiden top 10 win over Casper Ruud in Bastad, and admitted it was the anger left over from his Nadal clash that spurred him on for a career-best week.

“That match helped me in many aspects,” the world No 30 said after defeating countryman Sebastian Baez for his maiden title. “Entering the Centre Court of Wimbledon, at a full stadium and playing against Rafa, being able to maintain my emotions and not be totally scared, helped me a lot to know that, if I could play a great game there, I can do it anywhere.”

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