The comment of one of the team members of Rafael Nadal coincides with the approach of the Balearic to the baseline. He pushes his racket hard, raises the ball and serves for the first time. It is Sunday, the prelude to the pulse against Alexander Zverev (21.00, #Vamos) in its premiere at the Masters, and the maneuver is repeated again and again, during three sequences and a party with Roberto Bautista, to end up issuing sentence: yes, Nadal has arrived on time. Having passed the cotton test, he faces in good conditions the tournament that resists him and at the same time both deludes him.
"It was the first day he was able to take out normally," says his coach, Carlos Moya, after training, in a small group with special envoys. “We started very slowly, very little by little, and we have been increasing the intensity load every day. It has endured well. We believe that he is in optimal conditions ”, the technician certifies after a session of almost two hours in which for the first time in 10 days, when he retired in the semifinals of Paris-Bercy for an abdominal injury, Nadal (33 years) It has been able to take to levels very close to its maximum
“The progression has been good. Another thing would be that he could not have taken yesterday or today, because we would enter tomorrow's game with more unknowns, but having done today (for this Sunday) … The abdominal has not bothered him anything, ”continues Moya, who trusts that a relapse does not occur when the player tackles the real game situation and tense the muscles more; “We think not, but doubt always exists. We want to believe no. I follow very much the opinion of the doctor (Angel Ruiz Cotorro) and that of Maymò (the physio), who is the one who knows Rafa best. Come a very good progression. ”
24 hours after the clash with Zverev, the good news accompanies the preview of the Mallorcan, which throughout the week has been treated based on deep thermotherapy (with the Indiba machine), radiofrequency and Maymò care. Although the ailment did not prevent him from rallying, he did ballast the service. After the scare in Bercy and the resonance in Palma de Mallorca, he recovered the activity and has progressively adapted to the serve; always supervised by Ruiz Cotorro, present at the four preparatory sessions at the O2 in London.
“It comes with parties and confidence. In Paris-Bercy was playing and taking off very well, adapting to how to play on this type of surface (indoor, fast and indoors). Here there is no room to speculate or catch pace in the first two rounds, as usual, so we will have to be at the top from the beginning, and we believe that we will be prepared, ”explains Moya, 43.
Opposite will be on Monday Zverev, defeated by Nadal in the previous five between the two. Despite his very discreet course – only one title, in the land of Genoa -, the coach distrusts the German, defender of the title obtained last year. “There are seven in the world and he won here, so it will be a very difficult game. The face to face is very good, but he is a great player who has won many things. If Rafa does not do very well, it will be difficult for him to win, ”Moya closes.
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe here to the Newsletter.