One two three four…
And so, up to nine consecutive times Alexander Zverev stamped the racket against the asphalt, defeated the German (6-1, 6-1 and 7-6 with Milos Raonic) and frustrated as he could not, because it deflated like a balloon punctured in the Grand Slams, the real ribbon for those tennis players who are (or want to be, your case) some serial ones. He said goodbye again Sascha early of a big one and it was leaving a clue: it was a day of fury in Melbourne.
That happened early in the afternoon, local time, and then the image that probably never was thought that could be seen: a Pablo Carreño outside of himself, uncontainable and expelling exabruptos by the mouth, in the direction of the chair judge; losing the forms, crashing the raquetero against the ground and receiving the boos of the public of the track Margaret Court, stunned first and reprobatory later. For a few instants, eternal and because they were recorded by the cameras, Carreño stopped being Pablo, the educated boy from Gijón who would not kill a fly, calm, always predisposed to work and obedient; the smiling Asturian with the face of never having broken a plate and appreciated like few in the Spanish tennis court.
"The best of him? The best thing about Pablo is his education ", values his coach, Samuel López from Alicante, probably the first surprised by the reaction. "People who know me know I'm not like that. I lost my head, that was not Pablo ", the protagonist apologized yesterday, who lost his temper in a complex action, when a right hit the tape during the final tie-break and bounced on the line, while the line judge sang out; Kei Nishikori, fast as he alone, returned the ball at that moment and the judge validated the point for the Japanese, who at that time rowed against the current (5-8).
Carreño, 27, pleaded with referee Thomas Sweeny to review the point and repeat it, but he dismissed it. The Spaniard alleged that his opponent hit the ball when the game had stopped, but the judge remained firm: "Hit before." The Hawkeye did its job, but the outcome favored the Japanese. From there, four other points in a row and the ticket for the rooms: 6-7, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 and 7-6, after 5h 05m. Pure combustion
Two sets and an 8-5 to limbo
A party that could have fallen to any side and, in fact, did not know how to finish Carreño. He wasted a two-set income and then the margin (8-5) he had in the super tie-break. He did not know how to round, he decentered and ended up being the victim of adrenaline. Overexcited, he offered an ugly and improper image of him, unrecognizable and now exposed to harsh punishment for the misbehavior and the string of insults he uttered when leaving the track.
"I'm very sad," he lamented. "I want to apologize because I made a very serious mistake. I hope you can forgive me. I made one of the best matches of my career and it's very sad to end up like that, "he continued. the gijonés, who lives on horseback between Barcelona and Villena, where he usually trains, and who can escape to his land to see Sporting occasionally from the stands of old Molinón.
The praise of Toni Nadal
However, Carreño insisted: the referee was wrong. "Sometimes, they also fail. I ordered the Eye and showed that the ball was good, but the point is for him [Nishikori]. So, why do you let me ask for it? They did not dare to make a decision and they should have intervened. What did they expect, for us to fight? It is a very serious mistake, "he said, while the Japanese slipped an idea in another direction:" Yes, it was an important point, but perhaps what I should ask myself is how I managed to go back two sets against. Maybe it could affect him and maybe it could have affected me. "
Stupefied, the circuit still struggles to assimilate the scene. "Pablo is no longer the lamb that was inside the track, but outside of it, we can attest that he is a beloved character, an excellent person and a great companion", the technician Toni Nadal wrote in these same pages, in September of 2017, when he reached the semifinals of the US Open. "He's a very good boy," says Antonio Martínez Cascales, one of his tutors in Villena.
For a day, the Angel stopped being a Angel.
This Tuesday, at 11.00 (Eurosport), Rafael Nadal will play a place in the semifinals with a rival that has never faced so far: Frances Tiafoe. The American, 20, is currently the number 39 in the world and his game is the characteristic of the American school: service, power and punch.
Nadal's opponent idolizes basketball player LeBron James – plays with a headband and celebrates triumphs like him, beating his chest – and five years ago he shared a few hours of training with the Balearic at Roland Garros – "to prepare" he warned her two days ago.
And one of his secrets is, like that of many other athletes in his country, the pickle juice: a gherkin juice that ingests between play and play, as a restorative.