INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Last year, the challenge for Rafael Nadal after a seven-month injury layoff was to reel in then-No. 1 Novak Djokovic and reassert his dominance on the ATP Tour. Needless to say, he accomplished that mission, and his hard-court title at the BNP Paribas Open was the early-season result that made everyone sit up and take notice. He finished 75-7 with 10 titles, including the French Open and U.S. Open, and ended the season at No. 1. Piece of cake.
Now the challenge is to stay there, and while climbing his way back to the top was an undoubtedly difficult task given the talent in today’s game, maintaining the consistency to stay there is far tougher.
“What is more difficult in the end is to be in the top position for a long time,” Nadal said in his pre-tournament news conference on Thursday. “What’s more difficult, to win one tournament or play six finals? It’s more difficult to play six finals.