With a win at the 2014 Qatar Open, things are looking very good for Rafael Nadal as he starts off the new calendar year.
Nadal was able to get to the final round of the Qatar Open without much trouble. He got off to a great start in the final round against Gael Monfils, winning 6-1 in the first set; however, Monfils was able to hold on in the second set, with Nadal falling 6-7 (5-7). Nadal, however, held on in the final set, winning 6-2.
With a title win so early in the year, it appears that 2014 is going to be another great year for the Spanish superstar.
For the first time in his career, Nadal won his first tournament of the year, according to BBC.com. Although he didn't play against the toughest of competition at the Qatar Open, the fact that this was the first time he's been able to get a title this early bodes well.
Who will be the No. 1 player at the end of 2014?
Nadal is hoping that his success from 2013 will translate into 2014. He had to deal with tendinitis in his knee during 2012, but he was able to come back this past year and play at a very high level.
In 2013, he won both the French Open and U.S. Open, and it was the first time he won more than one Grand Slam title in a year since 2010, when he won three. It was also just the third year of his career in which he won two or more Grand Slam titles.
Along with a couple of Grand Slam titles, Nadal was also able to move back into the No. 1 world ranking, thanks to 10 total titles, along with a 75-7 overall record. He ended the year by losing to Novak Djokovic in the final round of the ATP World Tour Finals, but it was still one of the best years for Nadal overall.
At 27 years old, Nadal is in great shape, especially now that he is healthy. The top spot in tennis is still a tough one to hold on to, however, as Nadal will have to take on both Roger Federer and Djokovic.
Federer was unable to win a Grand Slam in 2013, but he's still one of the best tennis players there is, even at 32 years old.
Meanwhile, Djokovic is about as hot as anyone, as he won the Australian Open last year while advancing to at least the semifinals in the other three Grand Slams.
Nadal was able to finish on top last year, though, and with a win at the Qatar Open to start 2014, he's in great shape to do so again this year.