2017 continues to prove to be a breakthrough year for former world number one – Rafael Nadal who has made a memorable comeback to the pro circuit after battling a string of injuries which have jeopardised his magnificent career in the last two years.
Following a brilliant show at the year’s first Grand Slam at Melbourne Park, the Spaniard remained consistent with his game at the Mexican Open as well. Though Nadal finished as the runner-up on both the occasions but he showed glimpses of his old form which made him a top dog in the world of tennis.
Widely known as the ‘King of Clay’ – Rafa became the 11th player in the ATP history on Monday to play a record 1,000 career singles matches. Nadal joins an illustrious ATP club that includes some well-known names like Jimmy Connors, Guillermo Vilas and Roger Federer. Currently playing in the ATP Master 1000 event in Miami, Nadal celebrated his 1,000th tour-level match by beating the German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber in an exciting third round match.
The 30-year old Spaniard started off little tentatively and conceived a bagel in the first set from Philipp as he was thumped 0-6. This was the first time Nadal had failed to win a game in the first set of an ATP Tour encounter since 2008. But, Rafa quickly found back his groove and scripted yet another fightback to register his 822nd victory of his career.
With 822 career victories against his name, Nadal boasts a higher win percentage (82.19%) than anyone else in the ‘1000 club’ even better than his long-time rival Roger Federer.
Rafa played his first professional match back in 2002 at the tender age of 15 against Ramon Delgado at the Mallorcan Open. The young Spaniard defeated Delgado in straight sets by 6-4, 6-4.
So far in his outstanding career, Nadal has scripted his name among the all-time greats of the sport. He has won 14 Major titles, including nine French Open trophies, and a career Grand Slam. Nadal won the Olympic gold in singles at Beijing 2008, and in doubles at Rio 2016. He has also won 28 ATP Masters 1000 titles which put him in the second spot after Serbia’s Novak Djokovic (30).
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