It has been almost a year after the second round exit on the greens– a year of injury break, of what seemed to be an endless wait for the fans around the world. But the wait is finally over, as the Spanish Conquistador makes his way to the New World brandishing his weapon and embarking on a journey to Casa De Rafa in Francia, to defend his crown and the title of The King of Clay.
Personally, I used to logon to Facebook only to check his status and news of his comeback. Lots of hopes were pinned on his comeback at the Australian Open this year, but he bowed out of that too because of stomach virus – was the reason valid or not, well in my opinion, coming back to the level of tennis of the Big Four is not easy and whatever mental strength and physical well-being that is needed for that, no matter how long it takes, should be gathered. And if a pedicure can be the reason of people not playing then stomach virus has a good enough weight to be called a valid reason.
The VTR Open at Viña del Mar, Chile is where Nadal chose to start his return to competitive tennis. Playing on his favoured red clay, he features in both Singles and the Doubles draw. The start has been good but still far below Nadal’s standard, but it is a start nevertheless. I got to see some highlights of both his Singles and the Doubles match where he teamed up with friend Juan Monaco of Argentina. I liked the way doubles match, the forehands were dead accurate and was very active at the net when Monaco served, the team broke serve two times in the first and in the second set and remained unbroken during the course of the match dispatching the second seeded pair of Cermak and Dlouhy with a score line of 6-3, 6-2. The second set was tighter as the second seed tried to take control but Nadal and Monaco were just too tough to break.
The Singles match was the one which all looked forward to; Nadal has been given a WC entry and No.1 seeding and there were lot of questions in the minds of Tennis experts about his fitness and the fans were in deep prayers as Nadal took on Federico Delbonis of Argentina. Nadal passed the test with flying colors 6-3, 6-2. Nadal was broken by Delbonis early in the first set but he was unstoppable after that. Nadal got the basics right, he pushed Delbonis while facing his serve, trying to break every serve winning almost 50% of the return points. Nadal’s seemed to be warming up in the first set but in the second set he was impeccable – landing nearly 80% of first serve and winning a good amount of them he made Delbonis work, to understand how good Nadal was serving in the second set can be seen from the fact that Nadal lost just six points during the course of the entire second set on his serve.
So is Nadal back? Indeed he is! But he seemed little rusty, it is a long way for the French Open and fingers crossed that he gets back perfectly. Vamos Rafa!