Rafael Nadal skipped the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals in late 2014 due to appendicitis, undergoing surgery on November 3. The Spaniard couldn't find his rhythm after lifting the trophy at Roland Garros that year, struggling with form and injuries and not making the best start to 2015.
Rafa lost in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and Indian Wells and failed to lift the trophy on clay during the spring cycle for the first time since 2004. Barely staying in the top-10, Nadal bounced back with the title.
in Stuttgart and held it on grass for the first time in five years. The Spaniard experienced early defeats at Queen's and Wimbledon and took a couple of weeks off before returning to clay in Hamburg at the end of July. It was Nadal's first appearance in Hamburg since he won the title in 2008 and his first clay-court event after Wimbledon in eight years.
Rafa got off to a shaky start and lost the first set to Fernando Verdasco in the first match. Nadal got going and ran over his compatriot after losing two games in sets two and three. Things didn't go much better in the second round against Czech youngster Jiri Vesely.
Rafa suffered four breaks in a hard-fought 6-4 7-6 victory that required two hours and 11 minutes. The former champion raised his level in the quarterfinals to defeat Pablo Cuevas and outclassed Andreas Seppi in the semis to find himself in the title match.
Rafa battled Fabio Fognini and scored a 7-5 7-5 win in two hours and 34 minutes to clinch the third title of the season and the biggest since Roland Garros a year ago. The Spaniard won 14 points more than the Italian and had to work hard to secure victory.
Nadal avoided nine of 14 break chances and secured seven breaks to seal the deal ahead of tie breaks or a decider.
Rafa is in the third spot
In Rafael Nadal’s autobiography, Toni describes how his nephew was a well-mannered boy while growing up.
He said, “Respect for other people, for everyone irrespective of who they might be or what they might do, is the starting point of everything. What is not acceptable is that people who have had it all in life should behave coarsely with other people.
No, the higher you are, the greater your duty to treat people with respect”. Talking about what he would have done if Nadal was an ill-mannered boy, Toni said, “I would have hated my nephew to have turned out any other way, to have performed tantrums on court, to have been churlish with his opponents, with the whole world watching on TV.
Or, for that matter, to be impolite with the umpires or the fans. I always say, and his parents do too, that it is more important to be a good person than a good player”.