‘Tis the season to be….clay!
Clay court season begins next week and none other than the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, is set to appear after confirmation was announced he’d play in the Davis Cup. The clay court tournaments that are most popular are the Monte-Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open, Madrid Open, Italian and the second Grand Slam of the year, the Roland Garros French Open.
Nadal and clay are just a combination never seen before especially after his performance last season reaching La Decima. La Decima is winning a tournament 10 times in Open Era. Last tennis season, Nadal was victorious at the Monte-Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open, Madrid Open and the French Open. Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and the French Open Nadal won 10 times each being the first player to do so.
Rafael Nadal 2018 Journey
Although Nadal is the favorite to be successful again, his start in 2018 hasn’t gone smoothly due to injury. Nadal started off at the Kooyoung Classic losing in the first round to Richard Gasquet. He then made it to the finals at the Tie Break Tens losing in the final to Tomas Berdych.
Nadal soared through the first three rounds of the Australian Open winning in straight sets. A slight struggle occurred in the Round of 16 facing Diego Schwartzman, but Nadal prevailed in a four-set victory. In the quarterfinal round, Nadal retired in the fifth set with a hip injury. Typically, Nadal faces many injuries with his knees, but now the hip can be added to the list.
The hip injury forced Nadal to withdraw from the Mexican Open, Indian Wells Masters and the Miami Open. Missing in action from a few tournaments, he managed to get back at the number one spot in ATP ranking due to former No. 1 Roger Federer losing in the second round of the Miami Open. Nadal can still lose his top ranking to Federer again if he fails to retain his titles at Monte Carlo next week, Madrid in May and Roland Garros in June.
In his return from injury at the Davis Cup, Nadal won 6-2 6-2 6-3 over Philipp Kohlschreiber to set a new Davis Cup record for combined singles and doubles victories with 23 in a row. He’ll play again Sunday against Alexander Zverev in reverse singles. He mentioned he’s happy about back playing.
“It’s positive of course, winning in straight sets,” Nadal said. “It was a solid match and I feel comfortable back on the clay. It’s a great feeling to be back. Coming back from injuries is always difficult, but it’s great to be in front of my crowd on a very memorable day.”