Rafael Nadal – Playing Hard Courts After All

Despite his initial protests and inclinations to avoid playing on hard court tournaments leading up to the 2013 Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal has had a change of heart following crushing David Ferrer in the Mexico Open final, winning his second tournament since making his Tennis comeback.

Yes, Nadal is looking mighty strong on clay, as many expected. Despite complaining about still feeling quite a lot of pain in his knees, he had no problem dispatching of his countryman, who always seems to look outplayed when he faces Nadal. Ferrer lost 6-2, 6-0 to Nadal, who looked dominant and aggressive, just as he usually is, or was before another knee injury.

Now, after saying he’ll stick to Clay and avoid the American tournaments before the second Grand Slam of the season, Nadal is now saying he’s ready to play in California, not letting his fears (and his camp’s fears) of the surface being too damaging for his situation.

My knee responded well all week. My heart tells me I should continue competing, that I need to move on to the next tournament.

Nadal has won two tournaments in 2013, both on Clay, reaching another tournament’s final, putting him at fifth in the ATP rankings. The Mexico tournament was the first chance to see him play against some of the top players in the world, dispatching both Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer.

Indian Wells, however, offers a different kind of challenge. Nadal will probably face Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray somewhere along the way. It’s also worth mentioning that he hasn’t played on hard courts in nearly a year, since the Miami Masters in 2012, withdrawing in the semifinal against Andy Murray. He hasn’t won a hard court tournament since October 2010 in Tokyo.

Image: Source