Tennis News 2014: Rafael Nadal in Huge Trouble; Clay-Court Dynasty Already Crumbling
By Lou Ramon Aguila | April 30, 2014 5:00 AM EST
Rafael Nadal's struggle on clay has been a big story in the tennis world as of late. For the first time in his career, the impregnable Mallorcan Bulls has apparently turned into a mortal after failing to make the finals of two high-profile clay court tournaments.
Rafael Nadal is keen to move ahead in the quest for his ninth title in Barcelona.
Nadal, who is gunning for a record ninth French Open title next month, is surprisingly playing below expectations this past few weeks. His quarterfinals losses against Nicolas Almagro (Barcelona Open) and David Ferrer (Monte Carlo Masters) have certainly casted a dark cloud on his ability to stay dominant in his most favorite court surfaces.
Moreover, the 27-year old Spaniard admitted that he's currently experiencing a drop in confidence level, just a year after racking up 10 titles - including two Grand Slam championships (US and French Open crowns).
"I started the season okay except for some lack of confidence and competitiveness in important moments of certain matches," Nadal told ESPN days before the Barcelona Open.
"I've faced adversities throughout my career, and this is just another one. All my rivals are dangerous. Every one of them, I always go out there to play knowing that I can win or lose."
There's also a concern about his capacity to defend his status as the top netter in the world. According to Carl Bialik of Five Thirty Eight, Nadal had already suffered back-to-back setbacks on clay twice before and he responded with a long clay-winning streak in both occasions.
However, with the emergence of Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka, Nadal is perhaps in for the most challenging clay-court season in his career.
"Twice in his nine-year run of dominance, Nadal lost on clay in consecutive tournaments: in 2009, to [Robin] Soderling and [Roger] Federer; and in 2011, twice to [Novak] Djokovic. Immediately after each pair of losses, Nadal went on big clay-winning streaks: 37 straight matches after his 2009 rut, and 22 straight starting in 2011," Bialik stated in his article.
"He may need another such run to maintain his No. 1 ranking: His lead over Djokovic is fewer than 2,000 points, and Nadal has 4,000 points to defend in his next three tournaments. Djokovic has just 910 points to defend during that span."
Nadal is scheduled to play in the upcoming Matua Madrid Open, where he is three-time champion.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Join the Conversation
- Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Purse Split: $100M For American, $60M For Filipino— Report
- Amir Khan Addresses Roach’s Comments That Pacquiao Used To Knock Out The Bolton-Born Boxer During Sparring Sessions
- Boxing Analyst John Scully Says Floyd Mayweather Is Slipping But Manny Pacquiao Won’t Win In Super Fight In 2015
- Meet Paige VanZant, The Next UFC Sensation In The Women's Division
- Sharapova, Halep, Ivanovic, Wozniacki, Kvitova, Radwanska, Kerber Make Early Commitment To Stuttgart Open
- Russia Is Ready for Shooting War, Will Likely Win Looming Nuclear Showdown with U.S. – Report
- Microsoft Band Runs Out Of Stock, But Offers $10 Gift Voucher To Wait-Listed Customers
- Black Friday And Cyber Monday Sale 2014: AT&T's Cricket Wireless Offers Discounts On Lumia 1320, Galaxy S5, S4 And HTC Desire 510
- Google Joins Forces with GoPro Inc with New Google Maps Focusing on Destination
- Target Early Black Friday 2014 Sale Ad Released For Nov. 26, 2014 Includes Deals On Toys, HDTVs And Video Games Such As ‘FIFA 15’ And ‘NHL 15’ For Xbox 360 [WATCH VIDEO]
- 16GB iPhone 6 for $99 at Sam’s Club is the Best 2014 Black Friday Deal Around
- Lumia Update Will Come Soon Confirms Microsoft