Rafael Nadal will go down in history as one of the best Tennis players of all time, with many people believing he is the greatest clay-court player to ever pick up a racket. The last few years have seen the Spanish former world number 1 and fourteen-time grand slam winner slip down the rankings, suffering from injuries and struggling to find the form that took him to the top of the world. Could 2016 be the year that Nadal gets back to his best? Well, let us look at his 2015 to try and find the answer.
Nadal started his 2015 season with a surprise first round singles defeat in Qatar to German qualifier Michael Berrer, before partnering Juan Monaco to the doubles title at the same event. That was just the start of a struggling singles campaign for Nadal, which saw him win only three tour titles and not get past the Quarter Final of any of the four grand slam events. His ranking even dropped to 10th in June ’15 as he found himself falling further behind the likes of Djokovic, Murray and Federer.
Nadal isn’t one to just lay down and die though, with a fighting spirit instilled into him that he showed in abundance as the season drew to a close. The last five tournaments of the year saw the Spaniard reach two Finals, two Semi Finals and one Quarter Final as he climbed back up to fifth in the ATP world rankings.
The ATP Tour Finals in London saw Nadal playing as good as ever, with victories over Stan Wawrinka, David Ferrer and Andy Murray. He came up short in the Semi Final against an on fire Novak Djokovic, but the signs were there that Nadal is getting back to his best.
With Nadal preparing to start his 2016 campaign in less than a week in Qatar, his coach has tipped him to win a grand slam title and once again push for top spot in the rankings. Last season could have been a sign of decline for Nadal, with his strength and stamina not as it used to be. He is a player that will always give his best though and maybe his best will be good enough to climb to the top of the tennis mountain again in 2016.