Nadal Wins Barcelona: Is He Back?

Hi, folks. I hope you are all doing very well. Nadal won his 9th Barcelona title last week and in doing so equaled Vilas for the most clay court titles at 49. This after he won Monte Carlo last week.

Of course, his fans will claim that is another sign that he is back. But what does that even mean? That Nadal is going to start winning slams again? When is he back? When he wins the French Open?

He did that nine previous times as well. I don’t even think if he wins the French Open that it necessarily means he is back. One more French Open was always a possibility. For me, he would be back if he can win a slam off of clay.

I watched some of Nadal’s matches against Fognini and Nishikori. And yes he played well. I couldn’t see much difference between his current self and his old self. But for me, the real test was always going to be when Djokovic is back.

Nadal was pretty much expected to win Barcelona. Will it help his confidence? Of course, it will! But we will see what happens when he faces Djokovic again. That is the true test. Djokovic won both their meetings on clay last year, including the straight-set beatdowns in Monte Carlo and the French Open.

He has also won their last 6 meetings without dropping a set and 10 of their last 11 meetings. And the straight-set beatdown at the French Open last year was a big psychological victory for Djokovic.

So we will see how it goes the next time they meet. And that could well be in Madrid. The crowd will favor Nadal there but I don’t think it bothers Djokovic much and the higher altitude would favor him.

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In the end, I think Nadal was always going to make some kind of comeback at some point. I thought it started during the indoor season last year but then he lost the plot again for a while. Now we are back at the clay court season and this was always going to be the most likely time that he was going to shine again.

He has won the first two events of the clay court season like he did in his prime years but never had to face Djokovic at Monte Carlo who was burned out. The clay court season for me really starts in Madrid.

From there on it gets very interesting with Djokovic back. If Djokovic wins Madrid he is the firm favorite again to win the French Open. The current situation is in a way good for Djokovic. Being the top dog all the way through until the French creates its own pressure.

Kind of like last year before the US Open where Federer looked like the top dog but when it mattered Djokovic came through. I think this bit of down time for Djokovic is actually ideal. But I do think he also needs to make some statements now.

The French Open is obviously the big one for him. Last year it was the US Open under extremely trying conditions and he passed the test with flying colors. That was good preparation for what now lies ahead.

The stakes are now even higher if that is even possible and that victory will have given him a lot of confidence that he is ready for what now lies ahead.

Can’t wait for Madrid to get under way!

Is Nadal back?

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Posted in ATP 500, Barcelona.

9 Comments

  1. I would say, Dull is back only partially. The only big fish he had to face during these two tourneys was Murray, who after playing a very good first set in the Monte Carlo semi finals was back to his mental midget staff. In the Barcelona final, most of the times, Nishikori was in a winning position during a point and Nadal made him play an extra shot and he just got frustrated for having to play that easy put away. Remember the Thiem match where he had something like 19 break points of which Dull saved 18? How many times have we seen this happen to Dull’s opponents? That’s what sets Djoker apart in their current rivalry. As you said, only Madrid and Rome will tell where Dull’s game is right now where he will definitely have to go through Nole.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey, Jiten! Glad you found access to my blog again. Hopefully, some more of the old gang will be back after I disabled the registration again. It was not meant to shut anyone out I promise. I had to do it for a troll who was changing IP addresses all the time and was harassing me.

    You are right Djokovic is the only guy with the mental fortitude and focus to finish Nadal off after long points. I think of Nishikori as a mini Djoker almost. Great bh, movement, returns, etc. He had the shots to hurt Nadal but like you say not the mental focus to make that extra shot.

    Djokovic just everything a little better with the added mental strength.

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  2. Nadal is in great form and I like it. For me, final FO2016 Djokovic-Nadal would be ideal. I am going for Djokovic and to beat Nadal in the final in RG would be ultimate success.

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  3. Hoping you’re well and waiting for another post. Still have problems with your pages (they keep on “loading” even when fully loaded and I have to stop the process manually).

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hmm not sure what that is all about. I’ll check into it.

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  4. come on ruan…i am dying of waiting for your next post…it has been almost three weeks since your last post…three or four times i check this page in a day looking for a new post…i love reading your posts…i hope u r ok…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m ok Sisay thanks for the concern. I am about to make a post. Sorry for the wait I was sick and writing exams.

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  5. glad to hear you are ok ruan.I am eagerly waiting for your next post…please dont make us wait more than one day. by the way you were spot on on your last post asking if nadal is realy back and the real test is nole. i hope you saw yesterday’s match…what a mach it was…even noles 80% is enough to beat resurgent rafa. Any way i cant wait to see what you can say about it…good day

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok let me finish this quickly then 👍

    [Reply]

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