Tim Henman believes Stefanos Tsitsipas' chances of beating Rafael Nadal have received a boost with the Greek getting an extra day of rest following Matteo Berrettini’s withdrawal on Monday.
Henman was a distinguished singles player back in the day, making the semis at every Slam barring the Australian Open. The former World No. 4 also boasts of an Olympic silver medal, having finished runner-up in the men’s doubles event at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Now serving as an expert analyst for Eurosport, Henman recently opined that Stefanos Tsitsipas has been handed a lifeline in his quarterfinal against Rafael Nadal by virtue of being fully fresh for the encounter. According to the Brit you need to have every ounce of energy possible to beat the Spaniard, and the onus is now on Tsitsipas to make his advantage count.
"I think it’s helpful for Stefanos, there’s no doubt about it," Henman said of Berrettini’s injury. "When you are going to play Nadal you need to have a full tank, full of energy. He would never wish that on his opponent, but now that he is through he has got to take advantage."
While he is going into his match against Rafael Nadal with additional rest, Stefanos Tsitsipas could possibly be hurt by the lack of match practice. But Henman claimed the Greek will make good use of the extra bit of time to carry out an additional practice session, and prepare tactically for Rafael Nadal instead of Matteo Berrettini.
"I’m sure he’ll probably have a decent practice session (in place of the match)," Henman continued. "He was preparing for the match so he’ll want to go out there and hit some balls with his coach but then change his focus from what would have been a difficult match against Berrettini to what will be an even bigger challenge against Nadal."
How much time have Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas spent on the court so far?
Rafael Nadal has spent a total of 489 minutes (8 hours and 9 minutes) on the court so far in Melbourne this year. In his opening match the Spaniard took 1 hour and 52 minutes to defeat Laslo Djere, and in the second round he took 1 hour and 47 minutes to dispatch Michael Mmoh.
Rafael Nadal required 2 hours and 14 minutes to overcome Cameron Norrie in the third, and an additional two minutes to get the better of Fabio Fognini in the fourth.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, on the other hand, has spent 458 minutes on the court - just half an hour less than Rafael Nadal - despite playing a entire match fewer. That is largely due to his five-setter against Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round, which lasted 4 hours and 32 minutes.