2013 will be forever known as ‘Rafa’s year’ in the realm of top men’s tennis, as the Spaniard not only won two of the three Grand Slams he contested, but also reclaimed the coveted world number one spot.
All in a year’s work for Rafael Nadal then, who dislodges Novak Djokovic as the world’s number-one ranked tennis player, despite losing to the Serb in the final of the China Open.
There will seldom have been more comfort in defeat for Nadal in fact, who, after an incredible year was guaranteed a return to the top of the ATP rankings for the first time since July 2011, just by virtue of reaching the final in Beijing.
With this thought in mind, it was therefore fairly excusable for Rafa to lose his first hard court match of the season at the 26th time of asking and only the third of 65 matches all-told in which he has been defeated, since returning from a seven-month injury lay-off in February.
By securing the French and US Opens he took his tally of Grand Slam victories up to 13 – just four shy of Roger Federer’s marker of 17 – stockpiling 10 singles titles in all for the season before China, his 13th final of 2013.
Such a stunning return to form sees Nadal installed at 2/1 to back up his amazing hard-court year by taking the first Slam of 2014 in Australia, though Djokovic, the winner of the past three editions, is still the market leader at 7/4.
Meanwhile, if Rafa wins the ongoing Shanghai Rolex Masters, the King of Clay will become the first ever winner of six ATP Masters 1000 events in a single season. Not bad.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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