Rafael Nadal has yet to win a grand slam in 2015.
Nadal was even knocked out of the French Open, his favorite surface and a tournament he’s owned for nine of the last eleven years.
To say Rafa’s having a bad year seems like a bit of an understatement.
In fact, it’s been so bad that the media has constantly prodded Nadal with questions about retirement, though Rafa denies any thoughts about quitting.
“For sure, there is more behind than in front of my career. I’m sure of that. But I don’t think about retirement. Day by day is my way to work. In 2005, I was aged 19 and I’m sure that I won’t be playing tennis until 39.”
“I have motivation to keep going so it’s difficult to think about not playing but when it comes, I will know. When I wake up without motivation to improve, that will be the end. But, until that day arrives, I’m here and enjoying it.”
Though after Rafa’s second round loss to journeyman Dustin Brown at Wimbledon last month, he didn’t seem like he was enjoying it.
— Patricia Johnson (@johnspatricc) July 16, 2015
After Wimbledon, Nadal chose to return to the clay in Hamburg, perhaps hoping to regain his old prowess on the dirt he’s always felt so comfortable on. And he did.
Rafael Nadal wins 67th career title with victory against Fabio Fognini in the final of the Hamburg Open pic.twitter.com/HCtbzsGQqS
— WesternUg’zBiggest (@912CroozeFM) August 2, 2015
But that said, Rafa also didn’t have to face any players within the top 25.
Earlier in the week, Nadal touched down in Montreal to begin the gruelling American hard court season at the Rogers Cup, where Rafa will be looking to claim a fourth title.
When asked by the ATP website how Nadal would fare with the change to the hard court season, Rafa talked about how much stronger he was feeling, mentally.
“It’s always about adapting your tennis. There’s a different way of hitting the ball, but at the end of the day, it’s tennis. Hamburg [was] a positive week for me. Mentally I was stable all week, something that I wasn’t able to do very often this season. My mental powers have been up and down more. Hamburg was not the case and I’m working well.”
After confidence-boosting Hamburg win, Rafael Nadal prepares to face Stakhovsky in Montreal http://t.co/vIC95E46zM pic.twitter.com/ZmYIOYQ3Od
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) August 12, 2015
Nadal believes he still has it in him to improve, and this is a player who was sidelined for approximately eight months, due to injury and a stomach virus in 2012 and early 2013, and came back better than ever. So, despite the fact that this problem seems to be mental rather than physical, it would be hard to count Rafa out completely.
[Image courtesy Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images Sport]