Rafael Nadal Returns
Very bad feelings but even with very bad feelings I finish a lot of matches, today I was suffering for my health. I didn’t know what was going on. I was not sure I can finish the match that way so I had to stop," said the great Nadal during his final game of the Miami open after he lost a crucial game to the newcomer, Damir Dzumhur who sped past; ahead of his idol making his greatest dream come true. Though Nadal made his way to the tournament with high hopes as he was looking to win his maiden Miami open trophy, the heat there got the better of him, pushing him towards repeated ailment and a possible hint towards a sooner retirement. The weather in Florida at the moment during the game was pushing towards extreme conditions of heat where both players did struggle to get into their best shape. However, the world ranked 94 Bosnnian managed to survive the conditions shocking the world. The year had definitely proved to be the worst as far as Nadal's career was concerned after he was out of the Australian Open at the end of the first round itself.
Though Nadal has known towards being a master of comebacks even during an ongoing game. It was hence only stupidity for one to believe in Nadal never to return as highly impossible. Nadal after the Miami debacle did speak to the media stating, "Today I am not as good as I was don’t know if tomorrow I am going to be as good as I was. Life has been fantastic for me and still is!" As for tennis itself, the year has been a rough one with a number of allegations as charges of corruption was placed against the finest stalwarts of the game. Nadal too featured on the list of suspected players sometime ago till his name was eventually cleared after detailed investigation. There was a recent investigation into the dark world of Tennis where the possibilities of fixing were steadily increasing. The results after the investigation has lead to eyebrows frowning as a number of players seem to be involved with match fixing but the Tennis authorities haven't taken any action against them as of now. Two major media giants too investigated the matter accusing many of the current and former players of match fixing. They further went on to say that some of the current players of the ongoing Australian Open are also regular match fixers. However, the Tennis authority kept its stand with a cold shoulder to the media houses and their evidences. Reports suggest that the approach to the players for fixing such games was primarily happening at hotel rooms and resorts where the players were staying during a tour. It is also suggested that the corrupt bookies are offering a sum of $50000 and more to these players to fix games. During these moments of crisis, ATP President Chris Karmode spoke to the media during a press conference in Melbourne where he stated that, "The Tennis Integrity Unit and the tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match fixing has been suppressed for they reason or isn't being thoroughly investigated". Maria Sharapova too has been named guilty as she failed the dope test for a performance enhancement drug which was prohibited; breaking the hearts of many Tennis lovers across the world.
However, as a great man once said, there is no point crying over spilt milk. Whatever has gone in the past is never to return. However, the most popular representative of the sport, Rafael Nadal stormed his way out of the past as he went on to win the 9th Monte Carlo Masters title and insisted that his protracted comeback is now complete. He spoke to the media after his victory stating, "Winning nine times here is something unbelievable for me. Outside of that, that is something so special. Compete well two weeks in a row is something so positive, I have another chance next week in Barcelona, I going to try my best again." After his loss in 2013, it was indeed a show of class as he ricochet bad luck and marched away to his 68th Title at the 100th career final. An emotional Nadal further added that, "I’m very happy today. I hope and I believe that Indian Wells and this week – two tournaments in a row – I’ve been playing at a very high level, That’s so important, that’s what I needed. I have been working hard. Last year was a tough year – I don’t want to talk about it anymore, I was nervous during the matches. It is hard work every day to slow down that (problem). The victories help. but I’m still not 100 per cent perfect, I don’t have that (emotional and weakened) feeling I had last year on court. I’m very happy for that. I’m playing better. It’s obvious."
Just before Nadal made his way to Monte Carlo, rumours had it that veteran Federar was to make his iconic comeback with the series. However, as upsetting as it may be for all the Roger Federer fans, Nadal played spoil sport, that spoilt sport that everyone loves seeing, even the ones who hate him. Nadal had a dismal season with only one top 40 win as he walked on to European soil. If that was just not enough, there stood a formidable opponent in Andy Murray and a career baggage of excellence which lead people to keep expecting the magical comeback. However, as it is often said, miracles happen with the ordinary, magic happens with the extraordinary. It was not only a return but an emphatic performance which helped Nadal erupt back to the zenith of success all over again. Murray displayed his usual aggressive tactics in trying to take the momentum in his favour. Once the game was over, Murray too spoke to the media stating that, "I played a good match today," said Murray. "It wasn’t perfect. But apart from the one game at 3-1 in the third, I played good. I missed some shots. But you have to obviously take chances against the best players. If I don’t do that, you know, then you lose anyway. I do feel like I played a pretty good level match today for the most part. Obviously there was a few dips. But that can happen. Also Rafa is allowed to play well sometimes, too. So you have to give your opponent credit."
If one were to revisit history, there have been stories within the Tennis fraternity which almost sound like fables or rather fairytales about comebacks which have shocked the world time and again as the stalwarts rose back to glory. Novak Djokovik back in 2011 was crowned the king of comebacks after he returned from injury to sieze every opponent symbolically by the collar as he dominated on the pitch. Back in 1991, the match played by Jimmy connors and Patrick McEnroe at the US Open is arguably the best comeback that one can remember till date as the returning Connors was down by 0-3 in the third round but as drama played off, he turned the match in his favours to change the existing score to 4-6 6-7(4) 6-4 6-2 6-4. Just like him the list of comebacks remain a never ending one with greats like Agassi, Federar and many more.
However, Nadal's return and his form; if it were to remain might just crown this modern day legend as the people's champ.