Tennis: World number four Rafael Nadal is back on the clay courts at his home town Mallorca to train for the upcoming European summer clay court season.
The Spaniard uploaded a picture on his facebook page on Monday in which he could be seen hitting a forehand shot on the clay courts. He wrote, “Back to the practice on the clay court. A nice day!”
Nadal has a mountain of points to defend during the clay court season, which starts at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters and ends at the second Grand Slam of the season French Open.
Last year, Nadal started by winning his record eighth straight title at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters. Then he made another record by winning his seventh Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell title in the last eight years. After that, the Spaniard was stunned by his compatriot Fernando Verdasco in the third round on the blue clay courts of Mutua Madrid Open.
The Spaniard bounced back to capture Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome and then his record seventh French Open crown, beating world number one Novak Djokovic in the final of both events.
Nadal produced all that success with an injured knee but his joint did not hold for too long after that as he was stunned in his second matches at both Gerry Weber Open in Germany and Wimbledon. The Spanish star was forced to take seven months off to heal his knee, missing London Olympics, US Open, ATP World Tour Finals and this year’s Australian Open.
However, Nadal made a successful comeback on his favorite surface in February, as he grabbed back to back titles on the clay courts of Brazil Open and Mexico Open. The Spaniard’s success was not just limited to the red clay as he surprised everyone including himself by winning the BNP Paribas Open on the hard courts in Indian Wells.
Nadal chose to take one week’s rest instead of taking part in the ongoing second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event Sony Open. He made a wise decision as he is still fresh after making comeback from a long injury layoff. Testing his knee too much, could have proven costly for the 26-year-old.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion should now concentrate on the clay court season, where he would be the favorite to make more history by winning his eighth French Open title.
How to play from the baseline
The expression “to endure the rally” is about those indeterminate moments of a rally where none of the players is leading.
The ability to endure the rally is fundamental when you play a “long rally”, because it offers you the chance to measure your opponent’s strong points and vulnerabilities, besides letting you position as best as possible for your next offensive shot.