Novak Djokovic may have successfully defended the China Open and defeated Rafael Nadal in the final. But the real hero of the week was Nadal, who had reclaimed the No.1 ranking and completes yet another brilliant comeback year.
In the final, Nadal looked more relieved after regaining the No. 1 and this might be one of the most important comebacks by Nadal. First, he did not start the season at the beginning and would have only thought of winning the French Open.
But as it has happened so many times in the past, Nadal once again showed, why he is one tennis players with biggest hearts of all times. A usual his crictics pounced on him when he was knocked out of the Wimbledon early.
The Spaniard has always answered his critics with vengeance and as usual he was back winning Grand Slam at the US Open and now he is looking to finish the year at No. 1.
Let us look back at Nadal’s performance in 2013…
- The 2013 Rafael Nadal tennis season officially began on February 5 with the ATP Tournament in Viña del Mar in Chile. He lost in the final, but rebounded with victories at Sao Paulo and Acapulco.
- He then won the first Masters 1000 event of the year at Indian Wells. Nadal skipped Miami, and finished Runner up to Novak Djokovic at Monte-Carlo. He followed that with victories at Barcelona, Madrid, and then Rome.
- At the French Open, he defeated Djokovic in an epic semifinal that went to 9-7 in the fifth set, before thrashing David Ferrer to win his 8th Roland Garros crown.
- Nadal withdrew from Halle and played at Wimbledon. For the first time in his career, he lost a first round match at a Grand Slam, losing in straight sets 7–6(7–4), 7–6(10–8), 6–4 by lower-ranked Steve Darcis of Belgium. Limping in the final set, many people thought his season was over.
- But a strong summer saw Nadal win Montreal, Cincinnati, and then the U.S. Open (def. Djokovic), thus clinching the Emirates Airlines U.S. Open Series. This granted him 3.6 million US Dollars in prize money, the most money earned by a tennis player in a single day.
- A few days after the U.S. Open Final, he flew to Madrid to help Spain secure their World Group Playoff spot for 2014, with a 6-0 6-0 6-4 victory against Sergiy Stakhovsky. He also scored a victory in doubles with Marc Lopez. These victories gave him a 65–4 (94.20%) record in singles, and 6-1 (85.71%) record in doubles in 2013 so far.
- In the first week of October he regained the No. 1 ranking as he entered the final of the China Open. Nadal had last been at the top of rankings in July 2011. He has lost three finals since his return, winning 10 tournaments and adding over $10m (£6.3m) in prize money in 2013.