Nadal left Madrid twice this year, first time with questions & second time with answers!

Back in May there was a possibility Rafael Nadal would head to Roland Garros without a title.

Following an explosive run to the final at the Australian Open he was quickly dispatched by Novak Djokovic in the final with the match finished by the time I landed in Perth from Melbourne.

Questions were asked of the Spaniard then who gave soo much but the tank was empty come the final hurdle.

A second round exit to Nick Kyrgios in Acapulco followed which subsequently was the earliest he left a tournament this year. Injury forced him to withdraw before his semi-final against Federer at Indian Wells and completely missed Miami.

On the clay, no one is better than Rafa however many got the better of him early on. Fognini in Monte Carlo, Thiem in Barcelona and Tsitsipas in Madrid all saw off the Spaniard in the semi-finals.

I was there in Madrid and even though Nadal won the first set against Tsitsipas it felt more like a set of tennis lost by the Greek and not won by the Spaniard.

Rome wasn’t built in a day but this was where Rafa began to build his season with a title.

His 6-0 4-6 6-1 win against Djokovic in the final showed us that intensity he had lacked in the big moments all season. He left Madrid with big questions over his form and winning in Rome was the perfect answer ahead of Roland Garros.

A quite incredible 11th title in Paris followed seeing off Federer and Thiem on route to the title and his season went from strength to strength.

Wimbledon semi-finalist, Rogers Cup champion and withdrawing from Cincinnati put him in a good position ahead of the US Open.

The Cincinnati withdrawal was due to fatigue and he saved his best for when it mattered as he won his second major of the year at Flushing Meadows with a five set win against Daniil Medvedev.

Nadal manages his schedule so well and opted against Shanghai with a hand injury and ultimately had to miss his semi-final in Paris with an abdominal injury.

This led to questions over his fitness going into London. He lost quite badly to Zverev in the first round robin but did beat Medvedev and eventual champion Tsitsipas in the capital however that first defeat cost him a place in the semi-finals.

Nadal hasn’t played much indoor tennis but after London where he usually ends his season he led his country in the inaugural Davis Cup Finals in Madrid.

The level of tennis from Rafa on show was his best since New York. The relentless battle and desire of the Spaniard is something you cannot doubt.

We all had doubts earlier on in the season. Questions were there after his semi-final at the Mutua Madrid Open but he left Madrid just last week with two majors, two Masters 1000 titles, world number one ranking and a Davis Cup champion!

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