Spanish pro tennis star Rafael Nadal assured reporters Tuesday that he is in the best time of his competitive career, after a season with a lot of doubts, and some ups and downs on his perfect form when playing.
Nadal stressed that he currently does not have those nerves during the season, so now it feels good in matches and training, and that is his thought, facing the Masters in London.
Although he has never been the winner of a Grand Slam tournament, the Spanish, world number six, failed to qualify for the season-ending 15 to 22 November.
Nadal believes he has regained a competitive practically acceptable level, although not yet reached the courts that led him to dominate the sport in the last decade by the Swiss Roger Federer.
Nadal will make a debut in Paris Wednesday, against the winner of the match between Czech Lukas Rosol and Spanish Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Lukas Rosol is a foe who must have haunted many of the Spaniard’s nightmares over the three years since Wimbledon 2012. In the second round of the tournament, the then-world no. 100 seemed almost possessed as he unleashed killer groundstrokes, untouchable serves and lethal winners en route to a five set victory over the Majorcan. And Nadal does not take any defeat – let alone early Slam defeat, at a tournament he cherishes – lightly.
In the years since, Rafael Nadal has not fallen to this same opponent again – over two meeting in 2014, and another just last week. He now leads their head-to-head record by 3 wins to 1. But that almost wasn’t the case. As the lefty competed his first tournament on indoor hard-courts just last week at the Swiss Indoors Basel, he had the misfortune of drawing Rosol first round: A player with a legendary win over him, and the flat, sharp game that loves the enclosed atmosphere. The world no. 6 had lost the first set 6-1, and Lukas Rosol was serving for victory at 5-4 in the second set before the 29-year-old produced a stunning comeback. Breaking his foe at a pivotal moment, he went on to close out a 7-5 set, before eventually clinching victory in a final set tiebreak. It was all the more phenomenal when you consider the mental issues that have plagued the Grand Slam champion in many a big moment during this year of trial.
As the pair meet for the fifth time on Wednesday – barely a week after their most recent encounter – Rafael Nadal will surely take confidence and insight from the events of several days ago. But Lukas Rosol, too, has much to be upbeat about. Inches away from upending the eventual runner-up in Basel, the Czech can be in no doubt about what he must do to achieve victory over him in Paris.
And while Nadal has the benefit of the first round bye that top seeded players receive here, the situation may actually work out in Rosol’s favour. A qualifier into the event, the world no. 76 has multiple match wins under his belt on these courts, and is coming off a win over another Spaniard: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. A 6-2 2-6 6-3 scoreline may not sound convincing, but it is a win all the same – and over a tricky opponent, at that. To have come out on the right end of a tough duel the round before Nadal can only be a positive.