Rafael Nadal's back, Beware Novak!
Date published :
18 Mar 2013 - 16:35:50
He's back and he's looking dangerous. Rafael Nadal's victory at Indian Wells showed not only terrific consistency but also devastating accuracy as he fired out a warning shot to the Tennis fraternity.
The success at Indian Well was Nadal's first big title since his comeback from a seven month knee injury lay-off yet you wouldn't know it. Despite Del Potro's best efforts, the slayer of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray simply couldn't handle the raw skill of Nadal's racket across three gruelling sets. Three gruelling sets in which Nadal barely looked troubled in his problematic left knee.
If that wasn't enough warning, the manner in which he dispatched Roger Federer at the quarter finals stage should send out the message. Federer, one of Tennis' great champions, humiliated over two brief sets by Nadal. To look over the match you'd think that Federer was the one who'd been out of action for so long. And he wasn't the only one. Tomas Berdych too slipped to a straight sets defeat as Nadal trounced his way through the field to the final.
In his absence Djokovic has shone and many questioned whether anybody could stop the Serbian. These same people questioned whether Rafa would ever fully recover his damaged body. It appeared that Djokovic would receive the occasional test but ultimately dominate Grand Slam tennis.
Most believed that Nadal's progress would require patience. When you place the workload he has on the muscle's injuries are bound to come and he could have been forgiven for taking it easy. However the Spaniard is a champion and easing his way back in would never have crossed his mind. Not content with waiting for his preferred surface tournaments - clay - to come around, he's decided to lay down a marker, something nobody can deny he has done.
For the tennis fans out there who have followed Nadal's return to the sport they will have seen Rafa take consecutive titles in Acapulco (def. David Ferrer in final 6-0, 6-2) and São Paulo (def. David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3) as well as reach the final in his comeback tournament in Chile. The victories over Nalbandian and Ferrer were telling, yet few would have picked Nadal as the Indian Wells 2013 champion.
His progress has been haltered slightly as he today announced he'd be sitting out of the Miami Masters to rest, though only due to precautionary measures. No doubt Djokovic, Murray and co. will all be breathing a great sigh of relief.
Nadal had seen his ranking slip down to fifth during his spell on the sidelines, though victory over Del Potro has already lifted him back to fourth, hot on the heels of Murray. But ranking position won't motivate Rafa. He's got some making up to do and only Grand Slam titles will suffice. Djokovic, watch out.