The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

Brisebois: Rafa – Comeback kid

February 10, 2022
rafael nadal drops racquet after australian open victory

Photo: Martin Sidorjak

“It’s probably the biggest comeback of my career.”

That’s what Rafael Nadal has been saying over and over again since the conquest in Melbourne that made him the first player in the history of men’s tennis to win 21 Slams.

Clawing your way back from a two-set deficit as you’re staring down a young gun like Daniil Medvedev after playing only one lead-in tournament since Roland-Garros is a pretty amazing feat.

“In Australia, we witnessed the triumph of courage. It was the victory of an extraordinary guy who turned his enormous private sacrifices into great public recognition,” wrote Dr. Angel Martin, Rafa’s long-time physician, in the Spanish sports newspaper Marca

Comebacks after long breaks have become Nadal’s trademark.

Without taking anything away from his merits and determination, the 35-year-old continues to prove that his specialty is resilience.

“At his age, I could barely walk, and he’s dominating his sport,” noted Yannick Noah.

And it seems Rafa may have his eye on a hat-trick.

Let’s rewind to 2012–2013. Forced to end his season after Wimbledon and skip the US Open and AO, he came back to win in Paris and New York.

In 2016, he couldn’t secure any of the majors but made it to the final in Melbourne and then doubled down on the crowns at Roland-Garros and the US Open.

Can he do it a third time? Dr. Martin thinks so. He even compared the King of Clay to the ancient Trojan warriors.

Backtracking?

Novak Djokovic may not be keen on getting vaccinated, but he’s even less keen on watching Rafael Nadal winning another Slam.

Rumour has it that the No.1 will be getting his doses to stop his rival from running away with the all-time record. 

Credit: Tennis-Canada

Martin Laurendeau appointed to the International Tennis Hall of Fame Committee 

A member of the Tennis Canada team has been asked to join the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s nominating committee.

It’s a very special honour, and Laurendeau was vetted by former pro Todd Martin, who now serves as the CEO of the HOF.

“The appointment is completely unexpected, and I’m curious to see how things work,” said Martin Laurendeau.

Already en route to Egypt

These days, Canada’s former Davis Cup captain is back to his pre-pandemic schedule. Laurendeau was barely off the plane from Australia with Jaden Weekes, who’s remained off the radar despite finding his way to the AO doubles semifinal, when the pair jetted off to Egypt, where Weekes will hopefully rack up his first ATP points.

FAA at the AO 2022
Credit: Martin Sidorjak

Félix vs. Daniil: third-best match

The time difference between here and Melbourne made it challenging to follow the AO in real time, but I’ve found the three most hotly disputed matches of the tournament.

It goes without saying that the Nadal–Medvedev battle came in first, followed by Carlos Alcaraz and Matteo Berrettini’s five-setter.

And third? The nearly five-hour clash between Félix and Daniil Medvedev.

Amanda Anisimova and Naomi Osaka were fourth.

Great news

When François Legault announced that the Centre Bell and Centre Vidéotron could be filled to the rafters as of March 14, he also gave the greenlight to Eugène Lapierre and his team to start planning the National Bank Open in front of a full house this August.

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