David Ferrer played a great match against Rafael Nadal yesterday in the quarterfinals of Madrid Open. He hit the ball aggressively, used his backhand up the line to great effect and managed to get a lead of 6-4 4-2.
Then something happened. Nerves, doubts, you name it. Nadal broke back to love and managed to level the match at 4-4.
Nadal then broke Ferrer and was serving for set at 5-4. But Ferrer broke back and then held his serve. 6-5.
You couldn’t help but think that Ferrer could win the match. It was definitely there for taking and Nadal looked slightly hampered by wind, knee or just being a little off his game.
At 15-30 Ferrer is two points away from winning the match. He plays a great point and Nadal is in the middle of the court and Ferrer just has to forehand-slam the ball in the corner.
But he hesitates and somehow decides to go where Nadal is standing. And by some kind of miracle called resilience, talent and an unquenchable desire to win, Nadal scoops the ball up over Ferrer’s head and gets back in the point.
He manages to win the point, the game and the tie-break and after that Ferrer is broken.
Nadal won the final set 6-0.
You could say that one point changed the outcome of the match. And the players at the absolute top level, the legends of the game such as Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray, managed to win that particular point over and over again.
It’s because they always know they can get the win. They never stop believing in their chances, despite how dire the circumstances may be.
That’s what makes a true champion and that’s the stuff Nadal is made of.