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Rik’s take on Nadal

Our Davis Cup ace Rik de Voest has found out first hand just how intimidating it is coming up against a rampant World No 1 tennis player.

De Voest came up against the Spaniard in the second round of the BNP Paribas Masters tournament in Indian Wells, California at the weekend.

Predictably he became one of Nadal’s many victims, going down 6-0 6-2, but importantly he reckons the experience will serve him well for the future, writes Mark Etheridge.

De Voest came through qualifying and beat Spain’s Pere Riba in the first round after the latter withdrew injured [De Voest later established that Riba had undergone surgery in early February and wasn’t fully recovered].

“Only after that match did I find out I was playing Nadal, I had been focusing one match at a time. I enjoyed the build-up and the excitement in the day before playing him, especially from my in-laws and wife. I was excited too, but trying to remain calm,” said De Voest.

Then match day dawned. “The match day was good, I warmed up well, all was fine, felt good and comfortable, and good to go. But then walking on court to a loud stadium and the roar that Nadal received, was a little intimidating.

“I ended up being really nervous. I was getting frustrated — not that I was losing, but that I was not playing how I had been in the qualifying rounds. he was playing really well, and I tried as best I could.

“I enjoyed the match, definitely learned from the experience and will be much better prepared for such an occasion the next time it happens.”

De Voest is still in Indian Wells and practising hard before heading off to Miami, Florida where the qualifying rounds begin next Monday.


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