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Will Rafa be that Nadal again?

813   //    16 Dec 2012, 19:12 IST

Rafael Nadal confirmed last week that he will be participating in the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament later this month. This will be his first ever tournament since his shocking defeat at the hands of Lucas Rosol in the Wimbelson earlier this year. With many of his injuries recuperating several times during the season, it remains to be seen whether Rafa, as he is affectionately called, is able to turn the screws right on their head and forge a winning return. However, having said that, it is a herculean task ahead of him. Will he able to wow the tennis world with his all round game, tight defence and immaculate forehands? The answer perhaps is best known to him. The high risk game with which he enthrals the crowd, chasing every ball ball down the baselines, is in fact a testimony to his character, grit and determination. However, having said this, it puts enormous pressure on his knees and he risks injuring every muscle of his body.

Coming back from a lengthy lay off, it will interesting to see how Nadal copes up with this excruciating schedule, including the four grand slams and the tough WTA tours. What also remains to be seen is whether he is able to emulate Federer’s seventeen grandslam titles. The best way he can do that is by winning another five French Open titles consecutively till he reaches his early 30s. A couple of Australian Open and US Open titles will add to his already rich collection of silverware. However, if he is able to win the Wimbledon at the SW19, it’s going to be the icing on the cake.

Let’s have a look on how he can achieve this mammoth target:

a) He has to be ice cool, which he normally is. Always at the peak of his game, he has to chase down every ball on either side of the tee.

b) He has to improve his fitness to a great extent. There have been a lot of complaints from well-wishers regarding Rafa trying to push himself back from injury but he needs to assess himself properly before stepping out onto the court.

c) He has to play according to the situation. He shouldn’t get bogged down by the opponents. What’s very important is that he should be able to dictate rallies as he normally and effectively does.

If he is able to do all of those above, Rafa will surely be able to reinvent his magical touch once again.

But it’s going to take every ounce of energy that the Mallorcan possesses in his armoury. With players like Djokovic, Murray and Tsonga taking their fitness level to an altogether different level, it will be interesting to see on how Rafa justifies his fourth seed in the upcoming grand slams.

The king of clay has kept his fans waiting for his lip smacking tennis and all-round abilities to win matches. The eleven time grand slam champion needs to get going and despatch the balls away like he does so calmly with the polished technique that he has.

A question remains though, will the genius who has battled injuries all over his career be able to rise like a phoenix from the ashes? Surely, 2013 will give an answer.

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