Is Rafa Now Officially On The Decline?

Jan 20, 2016

Is it time that we started contemplating the decline of the greatest clay court player, Rafael Nadal, in the history of the game tennis?

After Nadal’s first round loss to his compatriot Fernando Verdasco on Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, many are now starting to question whether Rafa’s career is officially in decline, I think it is too soon to jump the gun on that topic just yet, remember all those people who suggested Roger Federer was done after some poor results a few years back, Fed is now playing some sublime tennis after many wrote him off too early, the same could be said for Nadal although the Spaniard will have to prove his critics wrong in the not too distant future.

Rafa has a chance to redeem himself throughout the clay court season, which is his favourite time of the year on the ATP calendar, he will be keen to show that he is still one of the elite tennis players going around, but if he isn’t the dominant force in 2016 that we are used to seeing on the red dirt, will it be time then to suggest that one of the best ever careers in men’s tennis is on the slide?

I think the clay court season should tell us exactly where Rafa is at, both mentally and physically, should he claim a few clay court titles and enjoy a deep run at Roland Garros then it might be premature to say that he is in decline, in 2015 Rafa made only two clay court finals in Buenos Aires and Madrid respectively, he won the 250 series title in Buenos Aires but was beaten comprehensively by Andy Murray in the Madrid Masters, if Nadal can enjoy more success on the clay in 2016 then his confidence will soar once again.

So, all you Rafa fans, is it time to start contemplating the decline of the King of Clay in 2016, or are we being premature to even think such a thing, we all know the raging bull will keep giving 100%, so it will be interesting to see how this season pans out for the Spaniard.

Written by: Tono

(4) Comments

Drivers says:
Jan 24, 2016

Your message…I agree that it is too soon to rule out a resurgence of form from Rafa. I think that it is possible that his struggles with performance and confidence over 2015 can be explained by a slow recovery from his op the previous Autumn. He’s not the only player to experience this. It’s certainly true that he was struggling against the very top players though I did think that he was on the up at the end of year finals, until he met Novak, of course! At Doha he met the same fate! But, I did expect him to go MUCH further in Australia. He was playing Verdasco who knows his game very well and has definitely caused him significant problems n the past. Even so….. Fingers crossed for a phenomenal clay court season. Tennis needs Rafa – in my opinion!

Tono-2014-Yoda-Cup-Guru says:
Jan 25, 2016

Thanks for the comments Drivers, a Rafa fan I take it?
I’m more a Federer fan but certainly acknowledge what a fantastic contribution Nadal has made to the game of tennis, it would be good to see Rafa back to his best but I think age and his tough style of play might now stop him from reproducing his previous Grand Slam winning form, let’s wait and see I guess.

Drivers says:
Jan 26, 2016

Your message…Oh, a big fan of both of them; for different reasons. Federer is simply sublime in just about every respect. What’s more, he continues to evolve and innovate. The semi-final could be very interesting!

sneaky says:
Jan 27, 2016

Your message…Comparing Federer and Nadal is pure blasphemy, IMHO. Federer is god’s gift to tennis in every way. Aside from his long list of accomplishments and incredibly brilliant effortless attacking game………Federer would have been great in any era.

Nadal has had success but his game looks labored and uninspired. He is simply a player of today……meaning his game would only be successful with todays light powerful racquets and poly strings. I attribute his success to the modern equipment and possibly “PED’s.” At his best……he plays 10 feet behind the baseline running down every ball and getting massive topspin exceleration thus forcing errors off his opponents.

IMHO……….Nadal is either a “Super Athlete” or a “Super Fraud.” The jury is still out on whether he is guilty or not……..time will tell……….in the years to come I think we the fans will learn that Nadal has been guilty of using PED’s throughout his career!!!!

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