CHAMP10N

In this sport, some things are just meant to be. After a tough 3 years after winning his 9th Roland Garros Rafal Nadal etches his name onto that famous trophy for a 10th time which is incredible!

After making the final in Australia all talk turned to that Roland Garros title aiming for number 10 but Nadal always saying 9 is his favourite number but he might be re-evaluating that right now.

Over the past three years he has struggled with injuries and form but as well as celebrating another major for the Spaniard also celebrate and praise his work ethic and commitment to always trying to be a better player. When things got tough after Grand Slam No.14 you couldn’t fault him if he decided to hang up his racket at this point but he wasn’t done and I have a feeling he isn’t done yet.

Even the best can go through that period of having a lack of confidence which shows despite title after title they are human and you can see what it meant to him to win once again and in style, the forehand was immense but his consistency throughout the fortnight in Paris was special dropping just 35 games in 7 matches which is his lowest number of games dropped during his run to 10 titles!

VAMOS!

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Why Rafa can dominate on the dirt again!

“King of Clay” we all know who we are talking about but it is something we haven’t used for a while. Monte-Carlo and French Open champion on nine occasions his dominance on the dirt was absolutely outstanding.

A couple of years of injuries and inconsistency in form meant that title was used less and less. It’s been almost three years since Rafa won his last major at Roland Garros in 2014 and this year he has looked as sharp as he did that year but has fallen short on three occasions to Roger Federer.

The big question is, can he reclaim that title and become a force on the clay once again?

Last year we saw Rafa win Monte-Carlo for the first time in three years after winning it 8 years in a row and going on an incredible 46 match winning streak by the coast but is he favourite once again?

Going into the tournament you’d have to say he is favourite. Inconsistencies are there in Kei and Stan’s game despite both being good clay court players and for Andy and Novak this is realistically going to be a tough ask, first tournament since early exit at Indian Wells it may take a week to find rhythm again.

There are no doubts in my mind that Nadal is playing his best tennis since he last won Roland Garros, he seems to have found some new confidence and slight changes to his game have helped.

This season he has added Carlos Moya to his team and I think it helps to get another set of eyes and ideas and this year we have seen a bit more variation in the serve especially with some spin and Nadal having one of the highest first serve percentages on the tour isn’t a surprise.

Where he has struggled this year is against fast thinking players and the first one that comes to mind is Federer. On the fast hard courts it doesn’t always suit Nadal but in these slow conditions in Monte Carlo he will be patient will be the one to beat.