Tennis

Rafael Nadal to rule Rome after Madrid success

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Rafael Nadal's fourth title in Madrid may not have come in the way he might have hoped, nobody likes winning thanks to injury, but it shows he can recover from adversity.

A retirement to upcoming Japanese star Kei Nishikori somewhat saved the world no.1 who was in trouble at a set down before winning 2-6 6-4 3-0.

However, as in the football world yesterday, a Manchester City fan pointed out that nobody remembers who finishes second. Ultimately nobody will remember Nadal's strife, they will only see that he added another crown to his illustrious wardrobe. 

With his 27th Masters 1000 title safely in the bag, the Spaniard already has a chance to make it 28 this week in Rome - and you wouldn't bet against him doing it.

The 27-year-old has tasted success seven times in the Italian capital already, and despite the return of some old foes, we should see the 'King of Clay' rule supreme once more.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are back in the fold after respective times-out thanks to injury and parenthood. Their presence is only likely to rally the 13-time Grand Slam winner, though. 

It may have been a different story had the duo not withdrawn from Madrid, however. Nadal was clearly struggling with form and confidence after quarter-final defeats in Monte Carlo and Barcelona to compatriots David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro coming into last week's event.

As it was, despite it not being all plain sailing, Tomas Berdych was the highest ranked player to stand in his way. A Djokovic, Federer or even an in-form Andy Murray could have kept the Spaniard in the doldrums if he carried on in the same vein as previous weeks.

So what that final win over an ailing Nishikori demonstrated more than anything else was that a few dodgy results won't affect him, he's made of sterner stuff and he can turn it on when it really matters.

That sort of attitude will not only be vital in Rome, but more so at the French Open which is less than a fortnight away from its opening. 

Simply put, he is the best player on clay and it would only take a lapse in concentration or mentality to lose for just the second time in his career at Roland Garros this time around. The fact that Nadal has recovered from this slump makes him far less likely to let it slip again, he is arguably the sports' greatest player after all.

The momentum gained in front of his home fans will only make him sharper as Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles looks to be usurped for a second time.

Lest we forget that Monte Carlo and Barcelona followed some tough defeats to the hard-court expert Djokovic. 

While grass and hard courts offer a close contest between tennis' 'big four' of Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray, its a different story on the dirt with the Balearic-born star. If he's firing, as he is now, there's no contest.

Rome and Paris, you better watch out.

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Topics:
Tennis
Rafael Nadal

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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