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Rafael Nadal’s best memory – 2009 edition: The first Australian Open

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Rafael Nadal’s career is studded with great successes and incredible records: with 19 Slams he is aiming Roger Federer’s record, but the Spaniard has achieved other great goals, such as the twelve triumphs at the Roland Garros and all the titles on clay-courts.

For each season, however, there is a particular goal, an achievement that should be highlighted. In 2009 Nadal won his 6th Slam title, once again beating Roger Federer in a final of a Major, for the second time on a different surface of the clay-courts.

For the first time in his career, Nadal started the season playing the Australian Open as seed no.1. In the first four rounds, he didn’t lose a single set, beating Christophe Rochus, Roko Karanušić, Tommy Haas and Fernando González respectively.

Even in the quarter-finals, he had no particular problems eliminating Gilles Simon. In the semifinal he faced his countryman Fernando Verdasco and, after an unexpected and incredible battle, Nadal won in five exciting sets, reaching his first final at the Australian Open.

Once again Nadal faced his nemesis Roger Federer, and once again the Spaniard defeated his opponent in a Slam final, winning his first title at Melbourne with the final score of 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2. Roger Federer, during the award ceremony, said in tears: “This is killing me.”

The secret of the Rafael Nadal victory at the Australian Open 2009 explained by uncle Toni
Toni Nadal told a particular anecdote about the semi-final against Verdasco: “The semi-final against Fernando Verdasco, a day and a half before the final, lasted 5 hours and 14 minutes and required a physical and emotional effort difficult to overcome.

When he took the court for the warm-up an hour before the final our worst forebodings were confirmed: Rafael had no energy, his muscles were tense, his legs ached, as well as his arms and head. I tried to make him understand that he should make one last effort.

He replied that he had no strength, that he could not run. When I realized that the situation would not improve on the court, I decided to stop training and we went back to the locker room. Suddenly I became Barack Obama! It was necessary to create a relaxed atmosphere: “Yes, we can!” ‘Repeat it to yourself, Rafael!

We laughed and he went back to the usual one!” A few months later Rafael Nadal sensationally lost the fourth round at Roland Garros against Robin Soderling: Roger Federer won the French Open that year and, a few weeks later, Wimbledon, surpassing Pete Sampras’ Slam record.

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