Rafael Nadal: Boom or Bust?

Rafa Nadal 2015 is not the Nadal we know.

Everyone saw it coming, especially after the way he pushed his body to the limits for almost a decade. He was always the kind of tennis player who had made peace with the fact that he’d have a short tennis-life, but a blazing one at that. The cost? His body. Fair enough. On the other hand, Federer has a game that causes his body minimal stress and damage, and his intention to enjoy a long career lurking around the top 5 is probable, and is happening as we speak. He will play longer, but perhaps not win as much as he wants.

When Nadal hit the scene running in 2005 as a teenager, his physical style captured the world’s imagination. How could a body possibly withstand this kind of punishment? And for how long?

We got our answers over the years. It isn’t the first time Nadal has missed more than half the ATP season, and probably isn’t the last. Maybe he shouldn’t be making comebacks, but his age (29 this June) won’t allow him to go into the darkness without a fight. He is probably convinced that he must play at least a few years more, which is why he has agreed to tone down this game to survive long enough. But is he surviving?

He is competitive, but his ‘bad year’ is as good as anyone else’s very successful year. Make no mistake though—Rafael Nadal, on 14 Grand Slams, won’t win more than 1 more. He has made miraculous comebacks every year just in time to win the French Open, just in time to tune to his favorite playing surface, but 2015 has been different.

2015 has been the beginning of the end—an end that had begun in 2008.

murray nadal

That he has managed to win a number of titles since 2008 is, in itself, quite an achievement. But the most resounding reminder of his body giving up on him is, ironically, his performance on clay. Nadal wasn’t expected to compete on the harder surfaces, and he didn’t, but it’s difficult not to be wary when you see his bullish figure across the net on red clay.

But Nadal has now lost titles at Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Madrid. These were his pet tournaments for many years. It isn’t so much losing as the way he exited—to players he owned for years. It isn’t bad to lose to Novak Djokovic (Monte Carlo), but losing to Andy Murray, no matter how rejuvenated the Brit is (who had never won a clay court title all career before 2015), is possibly the last straw.

Murray destroyed Nadal on the clay of Madrid.

Nadal slammed forehands into the net, under the net and into the sides. He mishit most of his backhands, and looked like the shadow of the player who would have once won the match before it even started. He reached the final by beating some good players, but his ‘bad days’ are happening way more often on a surface the law of probability and averages never applied to him on.

He is now playing in the Rome Masters, the final event before Roland Garros—where he is 9-time Champion. You heard that right—9 times, he has won the Major. He has lost only one match in 10 years on this surface, in 2009, against Robin Soderling—the only time a non-Nadal (Federer) won the French Open. But this time, there’s Novak Djokovic. There’s also Andy Murray.

And more than anything, Nadal’s greatest opponent will be Rafael Nadal.

It has come a full circle. Will the King be dethroned in his own court?


  1. Pingback: French Open 2015 ­ Tennis news & updates at BookMyShow.

  2. Pingback: Tennis Matches News & Results 2015 - BookMyShow

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 − = six

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

More in Sports

  • Gujarat’s Ranji Trophy Fairytale

    A month ago, I stood in one of Ahmedabad’s famous optician stores. I observed the customers as I waited for a...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 17, 2017
  • Chinks in India’s ODI Armour

    India v/s England, ODI series Result: India win first game to lead 1-0 in 3-match series   It ended up becoming...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 16, 2017
  • Weekly Roundup: The Week That Was

    On the first “serious” movie week of the year, three films – two Indian, one major Hollywood franchise flick – release...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 13, 2017
  • Preview: The 2017 Australian Open

    A year after Novak Djokovic was on top of the world, on his way to winning everything there was to win...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 12, 2017
  • Preview: India v/s England, ODI series

    India played only seven ODIs in 2016, and so ex-captain M.S. Dhoni (takes a while to get used to this term) always...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 11, 2017
  • Ranji Trophy: A Shaw-shot Superstar

    A precocious 13-year-old pint-sized boy holds a bat far too large for him. In fact, his helmet and pads make him...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 10, 2017
  • The Sports Week That Was and Will Be

    2017 is up and running. It may merely seem like an extension of 2016 right now, given that veteran actor, the...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 6, 2017
  • Redialling MS Dhoni, The Finisher

    In 2008, on the final day of the fourth and final Test match of the series between India and Australia in...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 5, 2017
  • Five Important Cricketing Events In 2017

    As of now, two depressingly one-sided tours are underway: Pakistan’s tour of Australia, and Sri Lanka’s tour of South Africa. Both...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 4, 2017

All articles/blogs are intended to inform, entertain and amuse. We make no representations or guarantees about the truth, accuracy or quality of any content.

Copyright 2016 © Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved