Oh no, Rafael Nadal is now No. 5 in the ATP Rankings. PANIC!! At least that’s what the internet’s been telling me, that his career is over. Even this site posted the note about the fall.
For the first time in a few years, Nadal has in fact dropped out of the Top 4 this week. But really, so what.
Unlike years past, this season Nadal can actually make up a lot of points on the clay leading up to the French Open. That’s because Rafa “only” has to defend a Madrid title, a Rome final and two quarterfinals in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. (Nadal normally wins all four or at least three.)
I’m sure many of you would agree that chances are good Rafa will do better than that this year. And for the record, I’ll say he’ll win three of the four starting next week in Monte Carlo.
And as far as his seeding, yes, it’s more than likely he won’t receive a Top 2 seeding at the French, but with the points he can earn and the fact that the guys he’s sandwiched around at the moment – Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic – aren’t major threats on clay (not to mention Nishikori is defending Barcelona title and Madrid final points, Raonic has Rome SF and Monte QF), Rafa’s going to get that No. 4 or maybe a 3 if he sweeps the three Masters events.
Plus, the seeding probably won’t matter before then anyway. Being a 5 is perilous because it could put him with Djokovic in a quarter. But that won’t happen in Monte Carlo because Andy Murray won’t be there, and I’ll guess Roger Federer will skip either Madrid or Rome and maybe Novak Djokovic passes up an event to rest. So again it won’t be a factor unless he loses early in Madrid.
Now, Rafa did have a shaky March, but on clay he’s still the man to beat. And if there’s one guy up to the task to beat him it’s Djokovic. Novak got him in Rome last year and he had him on the ropes in Paris, but couldn’t deliver the knock-out blow.
The Serb’s looked very strong thus far in 2015, not 2011 level strong but he’s the clear No. 1. Yet I wonder, how much energy is he willing to expend leading up that big goal of his in Paris. And how much does he have in the tank right now?
Djokovic has played a lot of tennis the six weeks (Dubai, DC, Indian Wells, Miami – 17 matches) and now he’s got Monte Carlo in less than a week. That’s very little time at all to recharge. And if you are curious, Novak’s never won IW-MIA-MC consecutively.
Meanwhile, Rafa’s fully rested and he has to be fuming having had to watch his rival clean up at Indian Wells and Miami. Of course the confidence probably isn’t there yet for Rafa and he’s clearly rattled, but I’m guessing after a few good early round wins on the red stuff next week and he’ll be back to his old self or close to it.
Clay is what Rafa does. Pure and simple.
That said, if Nadal doesn’t win either Monte Carlo or Barcelona, then by all means knock over your water bottles and… PANIC!
NADAL’S 2014 PRE-FRENCH CLAY RESULTS
QF Monte Carlo – Ferrer (180 pts)
QF Barcelona – Almagro (90 pts)
W Madrid – Nishikori, ret. (1,000 pts)
RUP Rome – Djokovic (600 pts)
You Might Like:
Let’s Watch Stan Wawrinka Jump Out Of An Airplane In Gstaad [Video]
Andy Murray On Who’s The French Open Favorite: I Don’t Know And I Don’t Care!
Let’s Watch Andy Murray Try To Style Grigor Dimitrov’s Hair [Video]
Add Wisdom Teeth to Rafael Nadal’s Ailments
Roger Federer: I Won’t Panic, I’ll Just Go Back To Work And Come Back Stronger