If Rafael Nadal is to prove the doubters wrong then the Spaniard must start with a stellar tournament at this year's US Open.
The Spaniard has endured a difficult year on the ATP Tour, and has failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals in any of the previous three Grand Slams this year.
Injuries and lingering concerns over his fitness have been cited as the reason why, but as shown in the past Nadal is more than capable of bouncing back even if the odds are stacked against him.
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There are concerns on the tour that Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, may no longer have the capabilities to respond like he has regularly done throughout his career.
In 2009 came the first worries, specifically over his physical levels and whether the demanding style in which he plays the game was beginning to take a toll on his performances on the court.
Though he eventually managed to regain the majors lost to Roger Federer at the French Open and Wimbledon, it was the first indicator of the crippling problems that continue to plague him six years on.
As recently as last summer he was the world number one and fresh off the back of another title at Roland Garros. In the last 12 months his crown has slipped and, with Novak Djokovic as imperious as ever and Federer ageing like a fine wine, there are already questions as to whether he can add to his Grand Slam tally.
Winning at Flushing Meadows would be the perfect tonic to a year that has been harsh and draining for the world number eight.
Nadal's ranking has plummeted to such an extent that the tournament schedule means he could face Djokovic as early as the quarter-finals, a sad fact given the many spectacular finals the pair have contested over the years.
He remains just three short of Federer's major haul of 17, but despite his age the Swiss maestro looks as majestic as ever and his tally could still rise in the twilight years of his career.
Nadal needs to produce a tournament to remember to convince everybody, including himself, he still has what it takes to rub shoulders with the greats of the game.
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