Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rest Is History as Nadal Picks Himself Up for Federer Crunch

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rest Is History as Nadal Picks Himself Up for Federer Crunch

Article excerpt

RAFAEL Nadal admitted his exhausting five-set victory over Grigor Dimitrov will put him at a disadvantage against Roger Federer in the Australian Open final.

Federer was also taken to five sets by Stan Wawrinka on Thursday but the Swiss will enjoy an extra 24 hours rest than Nadal who, for television reasons, played his semifinal yesterday.

At four hours and 56 minutes, Nadal's epic 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (4/7) 6-4 victory over Dimitrov took almost two hours longer than Federer's.

Across the fortnight, Nadal (below) has been on court for a total of 18 hours and 59 minutes, the equivalent of two routine matches more than Federer's 13 hours and 41 minutes.

It means Nadal is likely to be the wearier contestant in tomorrow's title showdown, which could prove significant given both finalists have only recently returned from injury.

Federer, 35, is playing his first official tournament since Wimbledon last year while Nadal, 30, ended last season in October to overcome a niggling wrist problem.

Nadal said: "These kind of matches, even for the body, it destroys your body, but that's tennis.

"That's special, much more special than playing best-of-three. It should be like this, in my opinion.

"For me it is fair enough. It is true if you play a match like I had today, it probably is true you are in disadvantage, yes.

"That's a special situation, no? I cannot complain about that."

Nadal's one Australian Open triumph came in 2009 when he prevailed against Federer in five sets, having gone to a decider against Fernando Verdasco in the last four.

"That's what I'm going to try," Nadal said. "I am seven, eight years older but now is not the time to talk about that. Now it is time to be happy, very happy."

Nadal had to use every ounce of his experience and physical prowess against Dimitrov, who threatened to derail Melbourne's dream reunion by twice coming from behind to force a decider. …

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