For the first time this season, Nadal looked confident and comfortable on a tennis court. Over the last two weeks, signs of the 'old' Rafael Nadal were revealed at the China Open and Shanghai Masters. Despite a loss in the final in Beijing to Novak Djokovic, and in the semi-final in Shanghai to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the Spaniard regarded the two tournaments 'as the most positive two tournaments in a row on hard court of the year without a doubt.'
A Season To Forget
Rafael Nadal's 2015 season has been his worst since the start of his career. He hasn't won a Grand Slam or a Masters 1000, ending his records of winning at least one every year for the past decade. Nadal, who has had countless infamous injuries during his career, is currently healthy, but he's faced a 'mental injury' the whole season. The Spaniard has been known for having one of the strongest mentalities in tennis- and all of sport- so this year he's had a new hurdle to overcome. His level has suffered during 2015, but his biggest issue has been his confidence. Nadal has been plagued with self-doubt during every match, crumbling under pressure and being unable to play in the way that he wants.
Consistency has been one of the key issues for the 14 time Grand Slam champion this year. It's been a serious case of 'one step forward, two steps back', but the last two weeks have proved that he can play well more consistently than he has previously been able to. During the tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai, Nadal has appeared strong both mentally and physically, having beaten the likes of Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Fabio Fognini.
“In general, it has been a very positive two tournaments, [reaching the] final and semi-finals in tournaments that are not easy for me. I was able to win a lot of matches, but not only win matches, but play at a very good level again. I think it has been one of the most positive two tournaments in a row on hard court of the year without a doubt. The feelings are that I am getting better and better," explained Nadal.
‘I am enjoying on court. I lost, but I am not very disappointed because I was able to enjoy every match and play with the energy that I want to play and do the things that I want to do', said Rafa. The former world number one, currently seventh in the world, described his performance during the Asian Swing as a 'very good warm-up for the beginning of next year.’ Nadal will look to continue to turn around his season at the Swiss Indoors in Basel, the Paris Masters, and the ATP World Tour Finals.