Rafael Nadal may have won the French Open this year, but for the most part he has been a forgotten commodity among his legendary brethren.
But he is far from done, and will again compete with the world's best when he has regained his full health.
Nadal has won four tournaments so far in the 2012 ATP World Tour. His first victory came at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in April, where the 26-year-old beat Novak Djokovic. He then won the next tournament he played in, at the Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell, beating fellow countryman David Ferrer. His third win of the year came once again came against Djokovic, this time at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
Winning the French Open for a record seventh time was another milestone achievement for Nadal, and proved that he is still a player to be reckoned with on the tour. Yes, Roger Federer is still there and dominating, and Djokovic and Andy Murray are constant threats, but Nadal has the ability to dominate on clay and has shown he can win off it as well.
It's easy to kick a man while he's down, and Nadal is as far down the world rankings as he's been since 2010. His No. 4 ranking seems appropriate; Murray just won the U.S. Open, and Djokovic and Federer have each one titles this year as well.
But Nadal is already back at it, training and conditioning himself for a run in 2013. His detractors will quickly point out that he withdrew from the French Open in 2004 because of a foot injury, and again from Wimbledon in 2009 because of a similar ailment.
But a year like 2010 is still a possibility for the Spaniard, when he won the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and the French Open. That's just the sort of player he has always been; injuries very rarely keep him out for an extended period of time.
The tennis world can applaud Murray for his exploits—they're all well-deserved—and laud Djokovic and Federer as the top players, but Nadal is still there.
Injuries have racked him before and he came back and dominated.
Expect to see him back in the fold next year, vying for his 11th singles title.
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