Nadal played great at Monte Carlo, but will he stay healthy?


These days, you never know how Rafa Nadal will play on court because over the past nine months, he was hurt all the time. Even in the first three months, in 2018, he could barely play. 

However, in Monte Carlo, he looked pretty healthy. But at 100 percent? It was hard to tell until he walked on the court, he was ready to play for hours, he ran fast, he crushed the ball, so heavily, and he was so confident. He must have been so happy that he was playing in the clay again. 

In Monte Carlo, he won five matches to win the title, and he did not lose a set. He won 10 sets (60 games), and he only lost 21 games. That is damn good. He blew out Dominic Thiem, he pushed Grigor Dimitrov into the ground, and out muscled Kei Nisihikori 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Nadal: the best clay courter, ever.

But will he stay healthy over the next two months? He has to, because if he gets hurt again, the 31-year-old will have to go back to the drawing board. I would think that he has to be very careful this season. In 2017, on clay, he dominated, but after he won Roland Garros for the 10th time, he went down pretty quickly. His knees where shot. He cannot beat himself again as he beats up everyone else in the spring, clay-court season. 

Nadal is playing in Barcelona this week, which he has won many times. It should be tough, though, as he could face Nishikori again, in the third round, and possibly, in the quarters. He could play against the 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic or against Feliciano Lopez. They are all long-time veterans, but regardless, Nadal has always known how to be patient. Plus, now, he can move forward and attack.

Djokovic has been really struggling, even though he showed some resurgence in Monte Carlo, but he will be super consistent again. It will take a few more months, though. He won’t go away.  

Here is a good comparison, according by the ATP, of Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic:

Grand Slam titles/losses:
RF 20/72 
ND 12/52
RN 16/51

In the ATP 1000s: 
RF 27 titles
ND 30 titles 
RN 31 titles

The ATP Finals:
RF 6 titles 
ND 5 titles
RN 0 titles

Total “Big 3” titles:
RF 53
ND 47
RN 47

By the end of the year in late November for the ATP Finals at the 02 Arena on indoor hard courts, Nadal’s knees are pretty shot. Maybe in seven months, Nadal will be 100 percent, healthy wise. He hopes. 

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