It’s not a confession you’ll often hear from Rafael Nadal so a huge chunk of credit must go to 24th seed Argentine Juan Martin del Potro for forcing the world number one into a change of tactic during their US Open semi-final on Friday.
It was obvious Nadal was looking to exploit Del Potro’s apparent weakness on the backhand, but this backfired as the Argentine took control and brought about a well-deserved first set win.
Nadal knew that if he wanted to stay on course to reach the final and challenge for his third US Open title something would have to give.
“I changed a couple of things… I was playing too much against his backhand,” Nadal admitted after the 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2 win, per The Metro.
“I feel he was waiting for me there and then he had the opportunity to cover his backhand with his forehand… I was hitting too many balls against his backhand there.”
Nevertheless, Nadal was able to turn things around and produced arguably his best performance of the competition so far the win the next three sets.
He will face Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the final after he beat Nadal’s fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the other semi-final 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4.
Nadal added: “To be back here in front of this amazing crowd, on this amazing court, and to have the chance to fight for another title is so important to me.”
Despite Del Potro’s first set win, Nadal’s destiny to reach the final was never really in doubt.
It’s sure to be an emotional final for both players – Nadal for the prize and personally for Anderson who was told at the end of last year he might need to miss an entire season to he could undergo hip surgery.
Fast-forward almost a year and he is taking on the world number one for the chance to win his first Grand Slam.
Roll on Sunday.