Nadal Begins His Title Defense

Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, Monaco

Defending champion Rafael Nadal may have gotten a break from Roger Federer, but that does not guarantee that he will be able to defend his title.  First of all, he was drawn in the same half as Novak Djokovic, if that is not enough to start raising his level of stress, he will definitely feel the tension when he realizes that he can potentially face the fourteenth seed, Alexander Zverev in the round of sixteen (R16).

Nadal knows him well; they’ve played each other twice before and each time Zverev has forced Nadal to a deciding set as well as demanded that he played his best tennis to get the victory.  There are a few rounds before they can face each other and each can potentially be the victim of an upset, so perhaps I should not assume that they will both get to the R16.  However, I expect Nadal to get there and if he gets by Zverev, he may have to play the eighth seed, Grigor Dimitrov, another player that has forced Nadal to play his best to defeat him as well.  All these potentially draining matches if they happen will take a toll on Nadal, mentally and physically, even before he gets to the final.

Yet, tennis is a sport and like most sports there can be unexpected outcomes and all these potentially dangerous opponents can fall prey to upsets from lesser ranked players and never create a problem for Nadal.  Alas, it’s sometimes the player that you are least concerned about who may pose the biggest threat to Nadal’s title defense. Only time will tell and if it’s Nadal’s time to get his first tournament title of the 2017 season, this would indeed be a special one.  Buena suerte #Rafa!



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