Rafael Nadal celebrates winning in straight sets over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Picture: Michael Klein
Rafael Nadal celebrates winning in straight sets over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Picture: Michael Klein

Greek gun shattered after Nadal blitz

Stifling, oppressive and draining as the conditions were, 39 degrees when play began at 7.45pm, Stefanos Tsitsipas will feel they applied as much to his opponent as the weather on Rod Laver Arena.

Rafael Nadal, as domineering as anyone could conceive, and now in his 25th grand slam final, was light years better than an opponent who has lit up this tournament yet was squashed as the final beckoned.

Comparisons with the young Roger Federer are not unfair, the 20-year-old Greek has added colour and a buccaneering spirit to the 2019 Australian Open and yet, as with all Nadal's other opponents this year, will be a state of bewilderment for some time.

Were it months, it would be understandable, Nadal was extraordinary.

Tsitsipas was dazed afterwards an unable to explain his below par showing.

 

Rafael Nadal was at his absolute best on Rod Laver Arena. Picture: Getty Images
Rafael Nadal was at his absolute best on Rod Laver Arena. Picture: Getty Images

 

"I felt like it was a different dimension of tennis completely, I really can't think of something positive from that match" he said.

"He is very aggressive from the baseline, he plays a different game-style from the rest of the players. He has a talent for making you play bad."

Tsitsipas, backed by a giant Greek contingent on the nearby grand slam oval, was behind from the off, Nadal untroubled on serve all night and nullifying the glorious, if not always effective, one handed Greek backhand with ease.

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas walks off court after losing in straight sets.
Stefanos Tsitsipas walks off court after losing in straight sets.

 

Tsitsipas has only won five grand slam matches anywhere before this fortnight and to expect him to beat the form player bar none of this tournament, and one with 17 majors in his bag, is beyond unreasonable.

An hour and 46 minutes was all it took, Nadal controlling all play, his booming forehand down the line the night's signature shot.

We had hoped for more, obviously but Tsitsipas was overawed and overcome on all counts.

Marathons are not this Greek's thing, his every match this Open has been won in four sets.

 

Rafael Nadal powers another stroke from the back of the court.
Rafael Nadal powers another stroke from the back of the court.

 

This time it he was not allowed to find his stride, three quick sets and all against him.

But he has brought a zest and vim to Melbourne this year and the public will already be looking forward to welcoming him back in 2020.

It was put to Nadal post match that he had seen off some of the leading lights of the generation Alex de Minaur, Frances Tiafoe and now Tsitsipas this week.

"They are here now and fighting for the most important things," he said. Maybe, but a giant gulf remains.

Can you play any better asked John McEnroe?

"Hopefully yes," Rafa replied.

It is some warning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain’s Rafael Nadal controlled all play from the outset.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal controlled all play from the outset.