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“The Most Desire I Have Seen In Someone’s Eyes”: Vijay Amritraj To NDTV On Rafael Nadal

Wimbledon is just around the corner and it would be interesting to see how the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Carlos Alcaraz perform in the upcoming Grand Slam event. Nadal has already won the Australian Open and French Open this year, and has his eyes set on a Calendar Slam. With 22 Grand Slams to his kitty, Nadal would be hoping to get as far ahead of both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who are currently tied on 20 Grand Slams each. Former India tennis player Vijay Amritraj spoke to NDTV regarding the upcoming Grand Slam tournament and whether Nadal has surprised him with his longevity.

“Has he (Nadal) surprised me, no. Is he the most resilient tennis player ever? You know, you probably put one or two guys in his category, Djokovic who hits the most remarkable offensive shots from a defensive position, Rafa’s focus on point after point is probably the most desire I have seen in someone’s eyes, focus on each and every point. The answer would be a qualified yes,” Amritraj told NDTV.

When asked about whether he has noticed any change in Novak Djokovic this year after the Australian Open episode, the 68-year-old said: “I think it was unfortunate, as far as the Australian Open episode is concerned. But as you as look back at the clay events where he came back, he started to play some of his finest tennis again and the thing that amazed me is that even with the lack of match play, he has kept his physical fitness very high. So, coming to Championships this year, I think he is going to be a post away.”

Carlos Alcaraz made plenty of headlines this year after he stunned both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the Madrid Open. Amritraj reckons that the youngster is here to stay as has the mental fortitude to last the course.

“There is no doubt that he (Carlos Alcaraz) is here to stay. He is a real deal, he has a tremendous all-round game. His second serve is hard to attack, for a guy who is not a big man, he has got a good serve. He attacks well, he plays drop shots well. He has an all-round game, he is here to stay and I think he has the mental fortitude to stay the course,” said Amritraj.

Lastly, talking about the women’s singles event at the Wimbledon, Amritraj said: “Iga Swiatek is the clear favourite coming into Wimbledon. She has had remarkable first six months of the year, it looks like she is seeing the ball like a balloon. Things seem to be happening for her consistently, I think she is ready to win her first All England Championship. But you have a lot of challengers. Simona Halep has won before, she has had a little bit of dip but she is back where she belongs.”

“I think with Serena coming back this year, expectations will be less. She has played fewer matches than anyone else. She is going to be short of match practice when she comes in,” concluded Amritraj while talking about Wimbledon which will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network from June 27 to July 10.

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