Nadal Not Surprisingly Wins Rome
I know I know. It has been awhile since my last article. But to be clear, that doesn't mean I haven't been watching tennis in the mean time. With the French Open only days away, not only has Rafael Nadal proved himself to be the king of clay, he also really did not surprise anyone with his recent trophy in the eternal city.
After Nadal's lost to Dominic Thiem in Madrid, it seemed like his momentum on clay had been lost. But with Nadal winning his eighth Rome title, he made the statement that he is sill the best clay court player for a reason. His meeting with the young German, Zverev, proved to be his toughest challenge yet at the tournament. Zverev played one the best matches this year against Nadal yet it wasn't enough. He came out of the gate flying after being down a set. He won 9 out of the first 11 games when the second began. With only 3 games to go, Zverev could smell the victory and a pretty important one. But once the rain had settled onto the court and the players returned to the locker room, his confidence was shook. It is hard to come back from such a rain delay. Just look at the Chicago Cubs. If that rain delay did not show up in Cleveland, the Cubs would still be World Series-less today.
I clearly am not trying to say that Zverev blew the match but there was a possibility of a mental game that was lacking from him. After all, he still needs to learn how to control his temper. He did indeed break his racquet after winning the first set against Cilic in the semi finals. He won the set and still broke a racquet... shocking. Nadal is the experienced veteran in this case and with his favorite surface, he knows what to do. He always knows what he is doing. Even know we have lost the sleeveless Nadal days, he is still not losing his touch on this surface. As long as he is still playing on clay, he will always be the one to beat.