Residual impact from Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open five-set loss could affect him at Roland Garros, says Hall of Famer Boris Becker.
Stefanos Tsitsipas joined Roger Federer and Fabio Fognini as the third man in history to rally from a two-set deficit and defeat Nadal in Melbourne. Becker believes Nadal could be vulnerable even in Paris where he thrashed Djokovic to capture his 13th Roland Garros crown last fall.
“Not that I think the younger generation are without hope when it comes to turning this situation around, and there was definitely some vulnerability in Nadal if we think forward to Paris,” Becker wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. “His five-set defeat by Stefanos Tsitsipas will sting for some time, and could even be a factor at the French Open. For the first time I can recall Rafa looked really tired in that fifth set, he was beaten physically, and the others will have seen that.”
Former world No. 1 Becker believes the second-ranked Spaniard’s physical style will take a toll as he ages and cautions when Nadal “gets that little step slower he will not be the same player.”
“The Spaniard’s style is so physical that it is going to take a toll,” Becker wrote. “I am actually surprised that he has played to this incredibly high level for so long.
“While it would be foolish to bet against him for Paris, when he gets that little step slower he will not be the same player.”
Photo credit: @QueensClub