Rafa Roundup: Rafael Nadal starts year on high note

Rafael Nadal won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition 2016

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The season has barely begun, but a resurgent Rafael Nadal already has a couple of morale-boosting wins under his belt.

Playing in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event this week, Nadal ground out an impressive victory over David Ferrer in Friday’s semi-finals before beating Canada’s Milos Raonic in Sunday’s final.

The fans in Zayed Sports City were fairly clearly behind Rafa Nadal, as they watched a game of fast points and direct play, perfect for Rafa to avoid any signs of tiredness after his tough semi-final against Ferrer.

“I hope this is the first step to achieving a lot this year”, said Nadal after the win.

“We don’t live about the past at the same time I’m not talking about the titles that I had in 2013 or 2010,” said the Spanish world No5.

“I don’t want to talk about 2015 anymore. We are in 2016, I’ve talked enough about 2015 in the past year. I want to talk about today, and what’s going on tomorrow…

“I think last year was a tough year for me in terms of the mental part, when I was able to fix my mental problems I started to play much better and I’m feeling good now. I feel ready for the action, ready for the competition and we’ll see if I’m able to keep doing that for the rest of the season.”

“It is a great feeling to capture the title here in order to start the new season. I am happy for playing at a high level of tennis. I tried hard every year but this time I had already felt to arrive in good shape and it worked out in the end,” Nadal told after claiming his third Abu Dhabi crown, following his triumphs in 2010 and 2011.

For anyone who might doubt Nadal’s ability to turn things around, all you have to do is look back to 2013. That’s the year he returned from a seven-month injury layoff to win 10 titles and reach a career-high 14 finals, becoming the first player to retake No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after a three-year absence.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, January 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.
Photo: REUTERS

Nadal begins this season three spots behind Murray at No. 5, but if I had to put money on it, I’d say Rafa is more likely to win a Slam. That’s not a hard bet: Anyone who has won nine French Opens is going to be a credible threat to win a 10th.

In Abu Dhabi, Nadal beat a super-fit Ferrer in a long, testing match, which should prove valuable as he moves to the super-tough draw of Doha, where he may get the opportunity to face an undercooked Djokovic if they make the final. And that could be a huge confidence boost at just the right time.

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal beats Milos Raonic to win Abu Dhabi exhibition

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8 thoughts on “Rafa Roundup: Rafael Nadal starts year on high note

  1. niketa lobo (India)

    All the best Rafa.💖. For a super duper new year start.

    All I ask for you from the almighty is, health., all year through.

    Always keep smiling.😊😊😊😊 😁😁😁

    Like

  2. Congratulations, Rafa. Super start to the new year.

    That was a very tactical game played against big server, Milos.

    I loved how Rafa was constantly “on the hunt” to break Milos’s serve.

    Eventually he did. That relentless spirit and determination prevails.

    Vamos, Rafa!

    Liked by 1 person

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