Blog – Florian Heer
Rafael Nadal will be one of the interesting storylines in 2017. For the Spaniard the quest is probably no longer about total domination or even consistently inspired play over the course of a new season. For Rafa it will be about weathering valleys and being opportunistic when there are peaks. Timing in tennis is everything.
If Rafa can raise his game at the right times, he will be in the mix at majors. It is fair to assume that Nadal will summon his magical powers long enough and often enough to be a key player in 2017. Given his performance across the three matches at the Exhibition Tournament in Abu Dhabi, in particular the damage his forehands caused in those encounters against top players, it is pretty difficult to disagree. He was dismissive against Tomas Berdych in his opening match, in control against Milos Raonic in the semi-finals and then showed his fighting spirit in the title match against David Goffin.
“I felt I was playing well and these three matches confirm that”, Nadal said after lifting the trophy in Abu Dhabi for the fourth time. A statement, which will raise hope among his fans. His decision to team-up with Carlos Moya could help him but his physical health will be the key issue. Let’s hope for the best, as Rafa missing during the last months of the 2016 season, pointed out a gap on the tour.