Rafael Nadal’s comeback hit a snag in a 7-6, 6-7, 4-6 defeat to Horacio Zeballos at the VTR Open in Chile.
Though the VTR Open was a small clay-court tournament without the stiff competition of his tennis rivals, it provided four singles matches for Nadal to test his conditioning, left knee and mentality. It also provided a momentary glimpse to evaluate his game and consider his prospects for the near future.
Tennis fans and media will continue to need more patience in observing Nadal. He was unable to come back and get four wins, and it’s clear Nadal is not in championship form. There are more hurdles to jump before anyone can reasonably call him the French Open favorite.
The following will grade Nadal’s performances, and provide technical clues about his tennis. It will also examine the improvements he must make if he is to defend his French Open title.