“Rafael recovered his game,” Toni Nadal told L’Equipe in an interview in French. “His tournament was good, his attitude was good and his matches were not bad against [Grigor] Dimitrov, [Gael] Monfils and [Milos] Raonic.
… “It must not be forgotten that arriving at Roland Garros [in 2016], Rafa had excellent sensations,” said Toni Nadal, who is usually sparing in his positive assessments of his nephew’s play. “There was just this physical issue … For the first time in a long while, Rafael has no physical problems to manage … Since he has been playing with no pain, he has regained a high level.”
On the evidence we saw in Australia, Nadal could reclaim his “King of Clay” title this spring. But he will have to remain healthy, and he will have to deal successfully with the same kind of pressure that caused him to implode in 2015. Remember, Nadal reached the quarterfinals before losing to Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals at Brisbane before the first major of the year. He’s off to a great start, but it’s just start.
Federer and Nadal are largely exempt from the commitment demands of the ATP World Tour. But they must play if they want to continue making headway in the rankings. Right now, both are entered in one warm-up event followed by the two upcoming U.S. hard court Masters 1000s.
- Ten fearless predictions for 2017 | Australian Open
Rafael Nadal to win Roland Garros — Predictions the Spaniard would fail to win the one major he has virtually owned for more than a decade rang true in 2015 and 2016. But a surprise run to the Australian Open final to start this season has reinvigorated belief the 30-year-old is well and truly back in the mix and in pole position to recapture the Coupe de Mousquetaires. The Raging Bull’s biggest threats on the terre battue at Roland Garros will not come in the form of defending champion Novak Djokovic or world No.1 Andy Murray, but instead from his own rickety body.
“Esta es mi última temporada con Rafa. Desde el próximo año ya no seguiré a Rafa y me dedicaré exclusivamente a nuestra academia de Manacor. Quiero ocuparme de la formación de jóvenes talentos, que es el momento más delicado”, afirmó Toni Nadal en declaraciones publicadas hoy por la página web “Il Tennis Italiano”.