Defending Barcelona Open champion Kei Nishikori seems to have a different view on Nadal’s loss. The World No: 5 has said that he believes that Nadal can make a comeback, despite his poor start to the clay-court season. In the wake of Nadal’s early exit in Barcelona for a second straight year, questions have been raised regarding whether the Spaniard could duplicate his success in Roland Garros this year and take the numbers to double digits, something no one has ever been able to achieve in the history of the game.
This isn’t the first time clouds of apprehensions are looming large over the longevity of the 14-Grand Slam champion’s career, but this time it is different because Nadal himself sounded devastated at his game and deftness after his heartbreaking loss at Barcelona Open - a tournament which holds a special place in his heart.
When asked about Nadal prospects after three straight tournament exits this clay-court season, Nishikori didn’t seem pessimistic like several others.
“I haven’t seen his match yesterday, Obviously he is not gonna forget how to play on clay. He is one of the toughest players who sure can raise his level. Winning a couple of tournaments, that’s all he needs to be back,” Nishikori opined.
The Japanese player who resides in Florida expressed his love for the city and the tournament, although he said that he was a little bit surprised to see himself becoming a champion at the Barcelona Open --, a tournament which had long been dominated by Nadal and other European players.
Nishikori added that he is sad to see Nadal out of the tournament, but reminded that there are a lot many other good players still in the draw and hence he needs to stay focused.
Kei himself is no stranger to the ups and downs of career as he is known to be prone to injuries; there has been many instances in his career where he had to retire hurt during a match. Ever since he hired Michael Chang, he has been able to improve his endurance and stamina, enabling him to reach a Grand Slam final in 2014, and making him rise to the top 5 rankings this year.
On a different note, Nadal’s uncle and coach Toni Nadal has admitted that Nadal has been facing issues, but expressed that there is no need to make a tragedy out of his defeat in Barcelona.