Is there is a more competitive soul in the world than Rafael Nadal?
Yes, Nadal has perspective of what’s important and what isn’t in the big picture. The Spaniard has 14 Grand Slam singles titles – a record nine from the French Open – and he knows that along with his Davis Cup championship victories they rule his trophy shelf.
But Rafa is addicted to winning and his joy with taking home the Qatar Exxonmobil Open doubles trophy was sublime. He jumped into good friend Juan Monaco’s arms after they scored the doubles victory 6-3, 6-4 over Austrians Julian Knowle and Philipp Oswald last Friday night.
“To start the season with a title, even if it’s only in doubles, is a great feeling,” Nadal said. “When you lose early in singles it’s a good way to still be in competition. A win is always a good feeling and to have that feeling again was very positive.”
Nadal came to Doha as the defending champion and with the plan of spending the whole week there before flying to Australia on Sunday night to prepare on the ground in Melbourne for the Australian Open. For some, a first round upset to German qualifier Michael Berrer, might have sent then right off to the airport for an earlier flight.
Not Rafa. He stayed. He played. He didn’t stray from the course of action planned.
After spending most of the last six months sidelined – right wrist injury and appendix surgery – Nadal might have lacked competition, but he never lacks drive and desire.
While a Nadal win in Australia is probably unlikely given he’s underplayed, don’t count him out. If he shows, he shows to win and he’ll never step on court without giving his all.
P.S. Nadal’s won nine career doubles titles in his career and four have been earned at the Qatar Exxonmobil Open.
Rafa was in Qatar with his girlfriend and Francisco Roig, but uncle Toni flew in to meet the crew and practice during the weekend in Doha.