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Down the memory lane: Nadal versus Berdych

Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych look forward to locking horns in their 4th round clash
Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych look forward to locking horns in their 4th round clash

It is may be the case that you are either a cursed player or that it is your sheer bad luck that you found yourself playing Tennis at the highest level, only to find that your peak years have coincided with the extended reign of domination of three stalwarts of the game, and these stalwarts don’t need any introduction, do they?

If many greats of the game of Cricket described witnessing only two kind of batsmen in the world, one being Sachin Tendulkar and two all the others, the case with Tennis is not very different either. We have Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and then we have the others.

And among this massive pool of the 'other' players, we have Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych, who is Rafael Nadal’s opponent at the fourth round of the Australian Open 2019.

Like Nadal, Berdych has been around for quite a while
Like Nadal, Berdych has been around for quite a while

Yes, Berdych. This guy is still around and just as we are in awe about the top three still being at their imperial best, players like Berdych, Wawrinka and Cilic, who are well past their 30s and past their prime, still remain to be the potential dark horses of any Grand Slam battle that they are a part of.

This year’s slam Down Under is no different as Berdych, banking on impressive wins against British No.1 Kyle Edmund and Diego Schwartzman in the first and third rounds respectively, prepares himself to take his ground against his old nemesis, Rafa.

As a result, we have a much awaited, mouth-watering fourth round clash between World No. 2 Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych up our sleeve. It is a classic fixture not only between two players but also between two contrasting styles; one is a net-rusher and other is like a football goalkeeper, who fends off everything that comes his way from behind the baseline.

If we go down the memory lane, we come across some of the memorable matches that these two have played together at the Grand Slam events. From Rafa’s rebel performance to lift his second Wimbledon title in 2010 to his meek surrender at the quarter-final of Australian Open 2015 where he lost the second set by the margin of 6-0 against Berdych, the old foes have gone through tremendous amounts of change throughout their career.

However, their love and dedication for the game and hunger to succeed has brought them together, yet again under the same roof as they look forward to exchanging body blows on Sunday to book a place at this year’s quarter-finals.

Nadal last won his Australian Open in 2009, beating Roger Federer
Nadal last won his Australian Open in 2009, beating Roger Federer

As an ardent Nadal fan, I hope Nadal wins and wins comprehensively, but as we know, Berdych has always been a tricky opponent over the years and Nadal needs to be cautious as he prepares himself to embrace the first real test of the Australian Open 2019.

A dominant win over the Czech player can be a morale-booster for Rafa going forward into the business end of the tournament, as he continues the journey towards his 2nd Australian Open title. The title has eluded him since his first and only victory in Melbourne in 2009, despite making it to the final on three separate occasions.

Nadal is certainly a favorite to win his clash against Berdych, but it will definitely not be a cakewalk for him.

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Edited by Aditya Hosangadi
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