Rafael Nadal is a two-time Wimbledon champion, lifting the trophy at The Championships in 2008 and 2010. But the Spaniard’s most recent grass-court title came at the 2015 MercedesCup in Stuttgart.
It was an important event for the Spaniard, who entered the tournament without winning a European clay-court title for the first year since 2004. The lefty was World No. 10, his lowest standing in the FedEx ATP Rankings since 2005.
But after a tough first two matches, Nadal rounded into form to win his fourth tour-level grass-court crown.
“My level has always been there, I’ve not forgotten how to play tennis,” Nadal said. “But now things are coming together for me.”
In his first two matches, Nadal rallied from second-set hiccups to overcome tricky grass-court opponents Marcos Baghdatis and Bernard Tomic. Then the top seed beat fourth seed Gael Monfils in 79 minutes to earn a shot at glory.
“Thanks for coming to Stuttgart!”
That was a sign one fan waved in the stands as Nadal took the court to face big-serving Serbian Viktor Troicki for the trophy. The Spaniard received plenty of support from the German fans throughout the week, and he used that to his advantage in a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory.
Nadal Reigns In Stuttgart
“All the titles are emotional. All the titles are important. At the end of your career, what’s still there is the number of titles that you have,” Nadal said. “To add another one is very important for me, especially to confirm that I am playing better and better the past couple of months. It’s important to have victories, important to have titles for the confidence, for calm, for everything.”
Nadal struck 11 aces against Troicki, winning 86 per cent of his first-serve points. He was not broken in the final.
It was Nadal’s third Stuttgart title. The 2015 tournament was the event’s first on grass after switching from clay. He emerged victorious on clay in Stuttgart in 2005 and 2007.
“The tournament has been great,” Nadal said. “On clay it used to be a fantastic event and now on grass it’s a fantastic event, too.”