Rafa Roundup: Here’s why Rafael Nadal doesn’t expect an amazing comeback in 2016

Fotografía facilitada por la organización del torneo que muestra a (de izq a der) los tenistas canadiense, Milos Raonic, español David Ferrer, suizo Stanislas Wawrinka, español Rafael Nadal, galo Jo-Wilfried Tsonga y sudafricano Kevin Anderson en el ámbito del torneo de exhibición de Abu Dabi (Emiratos Árabes Unidos) hoy, 31 de diciembre de 2015. EFE/Mubadal SÓLO USO EDITORIAL/PROHIBIDA SU VENTA
Photo: EFE/Mubadal 


“I had a great off season in Majorca, where there was unbelievable weather and we were able to practice as much as we wanted,” he told media on the first day of the event at the International Tennis Stadium at Zayed Sports City.

Nadal bristled at the suggestion from one reporter about whether he could make a “comeback” from his ailing fortunes.

“I am number five of the world. It seems like I am number 50 or something. I didn’t have the best season possible, but without having the best season possible and playing rubbish five months of the season, to be able to finish number five is not bad news. I don’t expect an amazing comeback, I expect an improvement of my level of tennis and my level of competition. If I make that happen, I hope to be competitive.”

Nadal says partnering with Garbine Muguruza or Carla Suarez Navarro in mixed doubles is a “possibility” but that it is not his call to make.

“I’m going to try to play as much as I can in the Olympics. I don’t know if it’s going to be my last Olympics or not, you never what’s going on in the future. So I want to enjoy as much as I can. 2012 I missed it for a knee injury so it was a tough moment. This year I hope to be ready for Rio and I want to compete as much as I can,” he says.

There’s no getting around it: Rafael Nadal’s numbers were below his customary high standards in 2015. As his Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers stats show (see chart below), the Spaniard’s performance fell nearly across the board.

But even in a down year — one in which he failed to win a Grand Slam for the first time in more than a decade — the 28-time ATP Masters 1000 titlist still managed to finish inside the Top 10 in several key categories, including first-serve percentage (68%) and second-serve points won (55%).

Is the decline of Rafael Nadal imminent?

Nadal struggled with consistency and nagging injuries but still finished the 2015 season ranked the No. 5 on the ATP Tour. Will 2016 be a rebound season where Nadal claims his 10th French Open title or will the 14-time Grand Slam champion once again go without winning an ATP Masters or major title?


  • Rafael Nadal talks to the media in Abu Dhabi at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship


  1. Live in the present. None of us are fortune tellers. The end of 2015 was wonderful. I would think the beginning of 2016 would also be spectacular.
    I just miss seeing you play and happy that the season will start soon.
    Best of luck. Play your best. Your fans( I am one) totally believe in you.j

  2. VAMOS DEAR RAFA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) ci….ci….ci….. that is your genius…. always thinking of improvement as a goal!!!!!!!!!! Us fans tend to be sometimes so enthusiastic & excited with our comments when your humbled , level headed approach is solid & delightfuly promising !!!!!!!! : ) : ) : )
    God bless you sweetheart & enjoy 2016…….with lots & lots of fun & great time playing!!!!!!! : )

    ps: I just saw last night posted on YOU TUBE your great practice session from 11-15-2015 w Gasquet…. ….that was lots of fun ( I exercised the entire hour & 49 minutes along the screen : ) …….it was great to see you in an informal setting with your team & SO MANY ADORING FANS on the side……
    VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : )

    • Yes, No 5 (in the worst year of his career) is still near the top of the world! I agree with Rafa ‘s assessment 100%! Happy New Year to Rafa and all the fellow Rafa fans (including the ones who only come here to criticize him, but hope to see them less often because that will mean that Rafa is winning)! Best luck to Rafa in 2016!

    • And you forgot to come up with a new line. Ever heard of personal responsibility? Perhaps that’s why you’re not Rafa.

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