Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rafael Nadal: The (Six) Count of Monte Carlo!

(After almost a year, Rafael Nadal tastes victory - literally - once again. The delight on Rafa's face, matched with the reflection of the stadium shining in the Masters Series Trophy makes me deem this photo, "Super Awesome.")

I woke up to fantastic news this morning! Rafa Nadal won the Monte Carlo Masters Tournament, thus becoming the first player in the Open Era to win a tournament title for six straight years! That's CRAZY. Rafa beat his friend and fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1. in the first all-Spanish final at the event since 2002. Rafa's been on fire all week. This is his third match of the week he won by the score 6-0, 6-1. He raced to the victory in only 85 minutes and improved to 10-0 lifetime against Verdasco. Rafa had been playing extremely high-level tennis through March and April but had not made it past the semi-finals of a tournament during that time. To get back to the podium at the event he has owned for years, is a huge boost of confidence to him going forward into the clay court season.

"It's fabulous to win here so many times. This has been an unbelievable week for me, it was very emotional for me," said Rafa. "This is the best week I've had in a long time and there is no better place to do it than here."

With this win, Nadal ended an 11-month title drought, stretching back to last May in Rome. Much of this empty-handed time was a result of injuries that affected him from the French Open all the way through the end of last year. Now he's really back and undeniably in top form!

Nadal has now won 16 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, tying the career total of Roger Federer and putting him one shy of all-time leader Andre Agassi. I think it is safe to say that both Fed and Nadal will break that record. With Rafa still only 23 years old, if he stays healthy, who knows how many titles he can rack up throughout his career?

Nadal remains the one-to-beat on clay this season. His stats are unbelievable. He has won 54 consecutive matches on clay for the month of April and he’s won 10 titles during that time, six in Monte-Carlo and four in Barcelona. His last loss on clay in April came on April 8, 2005 (five years ago!!!) to Igor Andreev in the Valencia quarter-finals. Even with that amazing stat, Rafa still only ranks seventh overall in the all-time list of clay-court title leaders. He currently has 26 trophies, whereas Guillermo Vilas, at the top of the list, has 45. Keep climbing that ladder Rafa! Vamos!

1 comment:

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