Rafael Nadal must prove himself by winning Wimbledon
Nadal has only played on clay since returning from injury, leaving many wondering if he's back to his best
Rafael Nadal has always excelled on the clay surface and his recent appearance at the French Open was no different - the Spaniard turned up and walked away as champion.
Winning the Roland Garros wasn’t simple and a valiant Novak Djokovic performance in the semi finals made sure that Nadal had to be on top form.
The 27-year-old reaffirmed his dominance on clay during this year’s tournament and described his victory in the final, over David Ferrer, as “very important”.
Nadal’s historic victory means he is the first man to win a Grand Slam singles tournament eight times but will now have to turn his attention to a different surface, grass.
Wimbledon is often considered by many professionals as the hardest Grand Slam to win - the unpredictability of the grass courts means that competitors must be focussed and at their peak during a gruelling fortnight.
A year ago, Rafael Nadal exited Wimbledon at only the second round - one of the biggest upsets in Grand Slam history. His defeat by Lukas Rosol, then ranked 100th in the world, was a shock and the first time, since Wimbledon 2005, that Nadal had failed to progress past the second round of a Grand Slam.
An injury prevented him defending his gold medal at the London Olympics and he subsequently missed the US and Australian Open through injury and sickness.
Nadal’s 2013 season has seen him steadily progress back up the ladder with the ‘King of Clay’ having won seven titles, including the French Open. He is now, however, ranked fifth in the world meaning that a tougher draw at Wimbledon can be expected; his injuries and shock exit a year ago making this year's competition more difficult for the Spaniard.
If Nadal really wants to win Wimbledon then he will face the onerous task of beating the other members of the ‘Big Four’. Due to his world ranking going into London’s prestigious competition, he may face a member of the ‘Big Four’ as early as the quarter finals meaning the he’ll need to carry through the form that saw him win in Paris.
It’s unfair to say that Nadal, a champion amongst champions, is in need of proving himself, but the rise of both Andy Murray and David Ferrer - along with the likes of Tsonga and Del Potro - means competition is more fierce and whichever players Nadal faces, will be tough opposition.
Nadal needs an impressive Wimbledon tournament to continue his successes in 2013 and launch himself back to the top of the tennis world.
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