'Best Athletes Are Quickest Thinkers': Murray On Nadal Falling Mid-Rally But Winning Point

'Best Athletes Are Quickest Thinkers': Murray On Nadal Falling Mid-Rally But Winning Point

by Nurein Ahmed

Andy Murray lavished praise on Rafael Nadal's shrewdness and court awareness after the Spaniard won a sensational point in a first-round match at the Italian Open.

Nadal was playing Belgian qualifier Zizou Bergs in his first match in Rome in two years. In the past two weeks, Nadal's form and fitness have been encouraging, as he reached the fourth-round stage at the Madrid Open.

But against Bergs, it looked like Nadal lost a bit of that momentum in the first set when he allowed his opponent to take control of the match. Normal service resumed in the second as the 10-time champion began to find his range and hit with consistent depth.

After leveling the match, Nadal played an extraordinary point at the start of the third set. in his opening service game of the decider, he fell to the court after playing a forehand shot but quickly spun and got back to his feet to retrieve a return shot from Bergs.

Nadal's intelligence and quick footwork enabled him to reset the point back to neutral before he won it with a sumptuous drop shot. One of Nadal's former rivals, Andy Murray, described his powers of recovery and ability to read the situation as something only the best can pull off.

"I think the best athletes/players are the quickest thinkers and this is perfect illustration of this. Notice how Rafa gets up from the fall…Sees that the incoming ball is slow enough that he will reach it so takes a split second to wipe his right hand on his thigh in case he needs it to hit a backhand later in the point."

Murray reacted on X (formerly Twitter)

Nadal avoided losing back-to-back matches on clay for the first time on the ATP Tour. He went on to complete a three-set win over Bergs and will face seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz in the second round on Saturday.


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