Nick Kyrgios calls Rafael Nadal's return winners 'insane' after revisiting the Spaniard's near-perfect game from 8 years ago at Shanghai Masters
Nick Kyrgios recently expressed his bewilderment at a compilation of points that Rafael Nadal played against the big-serving Ivo Karlovic in the second round of the 2015 Shanghai Masters.
On Tuesday (September 26), the X (formerly Twitter) handle of TennisTV posted a highlight reel of Nadal's return winners while facing Karlovic. The Spaniard was returning to stay in the first set of his second-round encounter, at 3-5 down.
Kyrgios was impressed with Nadal's reactions, and he reposted the original video with the following caption:
At 15-15, Nadal anticipated that Karlovic would serve down the line, which enabled him to move into position quickly and hit a forehand return winner. A similar pattern unfolded at 15-30; the Spaniard hit another winner off a first serve from that wing to bring up break points.
On the very first break point Nadal struck yet another winner, this time off Karlovic's second serve, thus getting back on serve. The Spaniard won the set by a scoreline of 7-5 a few minutes later.
Even though he dropped the second set in a tiebreaker, Nadal was eventually able to beat the big-serving Croat 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-6(4).
The then-29-year-old gained plenty of confidence from his fifth career win over Karlovic. He went on to beat Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic at the 2015 edition of the Shanghai Masters to reach the semifinals, where he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in three sets.
Rafael Nadal is eyeing a return to professional tennis in 2024
Rafael Nadal has been on the sidelines ever since injuring his hip at the beginning of the 2023 season. The 37-year-old underwent arthroscopic surgery to address the issue and is currently in the rehabilitation process.
Nadal has only played four professional matches this year. He dropped his ATP Cup group-stage matches to Alex de Minaur and Cameron Norrie at the beginning of the season, before exiting in the second round of the Australian Open to Mackenzie McDonald.
The 22-time Major winner withdrew from all the big tournaments after January due to his injury, including the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
His uncle Toni gave a positive update on his injury recovery some time back. The coach claimed that his nephew could make his much-awaited comeback at the 2024 Australian Open, provided he is in good shape by then.
"Rafa is fine, recovering. If everything goes well, he wants to return to the courts for the 2024 Australian Open," Uncle Toni told El Desmarque.