Rafael Nadal: Why 1st Round Scare Will Help Him Later in Tournament

Sean ClairCorrespondent IMay 24, 2011

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 24:  Rafael Nadal (L) of Spain shakes hands at the net with John Isner of USA after their men's singles round one match on day three of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 24, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal had his biggest scare ever (this early in the tournament) at the French Open on Tuesday. Big hitting John Isner did everything in his power to make Nadal work for the win.

The question is now: Will this help or hurt Nadal going forward?

My guess is that it will help him down the road.

Nadal has never had a scare like this before, and it will surely motivate him to work harder on the practice courts, starting tomorrow. 

It also isn't always a terrible thing to have to play a tough match early in the tournament, as it can give you extra work and make you realize in your head that nothing comes easy, even in the first round.

Also, Nadal is in great shape, and this match didn't have too many grueling rallies. This in turn means Nadal got more work while not having to exert as much energy as if he were playing another counter-puncher. 

Nadal doesn't have the greatest draw (Davydenko, Verdasco and Soderling are looming), but he is always the favorite—maybe except for Djokovic, when he plays on the dirt.

Expect Nadal to be fine physically (he's a freak athletically), and use this match as a learning lesson to help in the next few days and second week of the tournament.