Rafael Nadal Ends Toronto Run of Stefanos Tsitsipas to Win Fourth Rogers Cup Crown for 33rd Masters Title
(August 12, 2018) World No. 1 Rafael Nadal spoiled Stefanos Tsitsipas’ birthday on Sunday when he stopped the Toronto run of the 20-year-old man from Greece 6-2, 7-6(4) to win the Rogers Cup for the fourth time.
For Nadal it’s his 80 ATP World Tour title, fourth most in the Open Era. He also has extended the record for Masters Series titles to 33.
“Is not about the 80th title.” Nadal said. “It’s about winning another Masters 1000. It’s about winning the tournament here in Toronto, Masters 1000 of Toronto. That’s the most important thing, no?
“The 80th tournament is of course great number, important one. Very happy. But it’s about another Masters 1000. Masters 1000s are tournaments so difficult to win, sometimes are even more difficult to win Masters 1000 than Grand Slams because you can’t avoid tough opponents. And that’s it.
“And today I achieved one tournament that I came here with the goal to win it. But I really know that going to be a very tough one to make it happen and it happened. So very happy.
“And just thanks everybody for the support. Have been a very positive week in terms of energy too. The support of the people have been so high and I really enjoy it a lot.”
This is Nadal’s first hard court title of the year, fifth trophy for 2018 which includes his 11th French Open title.
The man from Greece came into his first Masters final having beaten four straight Top Ten players – No. 7 Dominic Thiem, No. 9 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Alexander Zverev and No. 4 Kevin Anderson. Tsitsipas is the youngest person ever to accomplish this feat.
“If you told me this two weeks ago I would not have believed it,” Nadal said after the match. “It’s a great way to start the hard-court season. Winning in Toronto is so important. You don’t win Masters 1000s very often. It’s a very important victory for me and I’m very happy.”
“Have been very positive first set for me today,” Nadal said to media. “I think I played well. Probably the best first set or best set on the whole event for me.
“And then in the second, the match became a little bit more maybe boring. You know, we were not winning a lot of points on the opponent’s serve. And then arrived the moment that I had to close the match, and I played a horrible game, no?
“So, yeah, after that, he started to play better. I got a little bit tight and nervous, and then he had a set point in that second set.
“So, yeah, very happy to have this trophy with me again. It means a lot. Have been, yeah, a fantastic week, very positive one.”
Tsitipas talked about what he learned this week and how much more he has to learn: “Of how much I have to work. How much gap there is between him and me in our games, and how much more I need to — I don’t know. I don’t want to be rude, but bust my ass more on the court.
“Work more hours and become stronger and more solid baseliner. And withstand pressures, physical pressures on the court that to him it just seems like nothing special. That’s the big difference between my game and his game.
“And the patience that Rafa has is amazing. He never cracks. He will always grab you like a bulldog and always will have you — he will always make you suffer on the court.
“And it is amazing what he has built as a player. I mean, he was, like, you know, normal like all of us, and he managed to become this beast, this monster that he is today.
“It is true. It is true. It’s not that I’m saying something that — that’s how you feel when you play against him. So I need to work much more, as I said, and hopefully I can reach his level one day.”
The Spaniard complimented his opponents’ potential:”He has everything. He has a very complete game. Big serve. Great shots from the baseline. He’s brave. He’s young. He has everything.
“And is always the same. If he’s able to keep improving, and the normal thing is he will do it, he will be fighting for the most important titles of the world of tennis immediately.”
“I feel like I can be an all-around player,” said the 20-year-old. “I feel like I have all the strokes to do that.
“And I can see that my tennis has changed, has changed from what it was before. And now I feel comfortable. And I can adjust fast from grass to hard, from hard to clay. It doesn’t matter in which surface. I feel like I have an all-around game. So I feel comfortable playing on all the surfaces.
“And thank God I managed to adjust to the hard courts pretty fast. My first tournament was Washington, and I made semis straight away.
“I had vacation before, so I don’t know. Maybe even vacation helped me be physically and mentally a bit more prepared, I would say.”
Nadal has already withdrawn the Western & Southern Open for personal reasons.
More to follow…
All photos by Nida Alibhai.