In the past 2 seasons, Rafael #Nadal, former world no. 1, went through a lot of trouble having to deal with injuries and a low form overall. Last spring, he seemed to be on the right recovery track as he won 2 ATP events in a row during the clay swing in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. But, that was all before a wrist injury forced him to withdraw from the French Open and Wimbledon. He made an appearance at the Olympics in Rio winning the gold medal in men`s double. Further, he had little success at US Open being upset by Lucas Pouille in the 4th round at the end of a 5 sets battle.
In 2017, he started the season in Brisbane but eventually, it was Milos Raonic who took him out of the course in the quarterfinals. At the Australian Open 2017, things might work in his favour as the draw gives him a real chance of reaching the higher stages of the contest. In his quarter of the draw, the biggest threat remains Raonic. They might collide in the quarterfinals.
Nadal's potential run in Melbourne
In the opening match of the first Grand Slam of the year, Nadal faced Florian Mayer (49 ATP). The 9th seed in Melbourne, Nadal outshined the 33-years-old German in straight sets 6-3 6-4 6-4. Up next, the Spaniard will face Marcos Baghdatis (36 ATP). Baghdatis, a former runner-up in Melbourne back in 2006, despite his age, remains a high-quality player able to produce some great #Tennis.
For Nadal, it`ll be a great test to play against the Cypriot. If he gets past Baghdatis, Nadal's next opponent might be Alexander Zverev, the German rising star of the ATP circuit. In the 4th round, he might bump into Gael Monfils who is a genuine entertainer on the tennis court.
The higher stages could bring fierce opposition
Nadal`s potential run in Melbourne might represent a clash with Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals. By many, Raonic (3 ATP) is far from his real potential. He reached the final of Wimbledon 2016 after he dismissed Federer in 5 sets but failed to deliver the same quality of tennis in the final against Andy Murray.
Moving forward with this positive scenario on Nadal's behalf, in the semifinals, the Spaniard could play against Novak Djokovic. Such a duel is something to crave for. Let`s not forget that Nadal and Djokovic produced the longest match in Australian Open`s history back in 2012. It was a match having the trophy on a side with Djokovic prevailing at the end of a 5 sets epic encounter which lasted 5hr 53min.
To move even further, a final might bring quite an opponent for Nadal. Whether it might be Federer, Wawrinka, Nishikori or Murray the epicness would totally be guaranteed.