Rafael Nadal Will Continue to Dominate Following Return from Knee Injury

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIMarch 3, 2013

June 28, 2012; London, ENGLAND; Rafael Nadal (ESP) reacts during his match against Lukas Rosol (CZE) on day four of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.  Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

It was a huge weekend for Rafael Nadal, as the Spaniard dominated the Mexican Open for his second tournament win of the season. With his comeback looking complete, don't expect Nadal to slow down anytime soon.

The 26-year-old captured the tournament with a 6-0, 6-2 finals against fellow countryman David Ferrer.

Not only was it Nadal's second tournament win of the season, but it was also his second win in a row. His previous tourney victory came at the Brasil Open.

Nadal returned to the court in February after taking over seven months off from tennis.

He missed plenty of major tournaments in 2012 (the Olympics and U.S. Open among them) while suffering from tendinitis in his knee.

In the fall Nadal decided to take a rest from tennis to give his knee time to recover and get stronger.

He was slated to begin his 2013 season at Melbourne playing in the Australian Open, but ultimately withdrew after suffering from a stomach virus.

Instead, Nadal's comeback tour began at the Chile Open in February, where he lost in the finals to Horacio Zeballos.

It's been nothing but wins for Nadal since then, as he captured both the Brasil and Mexican Opens.

Nadal's Mexican Open finals appearance has to be considered his biggest of the season. Before this tourney, he had yet to face anyone ranked higher than No. 25.

But in Acapulco Nadal faced both No. 12 Nicolas Almagro in the semifinals and No. 4 David Ferrer in the finals. Not to mention he won both matches decisively.

After his win on Sunday, Nadal was quoted by The Guardian as saying:

For me, I played almost perfectly. I would have never imagined playing at the level that I played today. I'm leaving happy and surprised.

When asked about the upcoming BNP Paribas Open—which uses a hard-court surface that could be tough on Nadal's knee—he said:

My knee responded well all week. My heart tells me I should continue competing, that I need to move on to the next tournament.

Indian Wells will be a big test for Nadal. Not only will it be a hard surface, but it will also feature the top 32 players in the sport.

There's virtually no chance Nadal can win that tournament without facing at least one of these players: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray (the current top three ranked players).

While the Paribas Open will represent the biggest test of Nadal's return to the sport, he shouldn't be expected to slow down.

Nadal had to overcome some good tennis players throughout the Mexican Open, and he dismantled each and every one of them.

According to him, his knee is doing well, and he didn't look like he was having any trouble throughout the tourney.

Nadal has also done well at Indian Wells in his career. He has three finals appearances there, including wins in both 2007 and 2009.

Right now, the Spaniard could be considered the most dangerous man in the tourney. The competition will be in for a rude awakening if they underestimate him.

For the time being, Nadal looks healthy and should once again be considered among the tennis elite. And until he shows any signs of slowing down, his dominance is bound to continue.