Rafa Nadal’s unexpected comeback has arguably been the story of the season so far, with the Spanish player continuously written off by a number of pundits. The world number one crashed out of the 2016 Shanghai Masters to Victor Troicki after sustaining a wrist injury, with few being able to foresee or predict his remarkable return to the court just four months later.
Nadal remains one the most likeable tennis players on the circuit and very few fans are likely to begrudge his recent success. The 31-year-old wrapped up his 75th tour title at the beginning of October with a straight-sets victory over Nick Kyrgios in Beijing. The 6-2, 6-1 success was his sixth tour title of the year and also made it 12 wins in a row.
2017 has also seen Nadal add a couple more grand slam titles to his already extensive collection with a third US Open success as well as an unprecedented 10th French Open triumph. His first Roland Garros title arrived over ten years ago and he continues to relish competing on the clay in Paris.
The Spaniard is one of only three players to have already qualified for the ATP Finals which get underway in London on the 12th of November. His nearest rival Roger Federer and young German Alexander Zverev will be joining him at the O2 for the end-of-season showdown although Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka are amongst the players who have already ruled themselves out of the event.
Swiss veteran Roger Federer is the only player who can still mathematically catch Nadal at the top of the ATP rankings this season but the eight-time Wimbledon champion admitted he would probably need to win all four of the remaining tournaments on the calendar in order to achieve that feat.
Nadal returned to the top spot in mid-August and is aiming to continue his upward trajectory. The Manacor resident was delighted with his performance in Beijing admitting “It is an important title for me…” before later adding “I think I played one of the best events of the year, playing very solid the whole week and playing against very tough opponents”.
The World number one has been praised for both his attitude and determination after successfully battling back from numerous injuries. A bright 2018 has been forecast and there is the possibility of adding further Grand Slam titles to his already impressive total. Nadal has already been chalked up as the even-money favourite for the 2018 French Open title in the tennis betting markets and he will be keen to defend his Roland Garros crown once again.
He has been forced to change many aspects of his game over the last couple of years but still possesses plenty of power, speed and accuracy. On current form, it is extremely difficult to back against Rafa Nadal capping off a magnificent ten months with victory at the O2. Roger Federer is likely to provide the biggest threat in November but the world number one is going to be difficult to topple at the ATP Finals.