With the displeasure of having made public the announcement of his wedding in the fall, Nadal has already begun to prepare his return to the circuit. On Tuesday he began training at his Manacor Academy after a few days of vacation after falling in the final of the Australian Open against Novak Djokovic. It will be more than a week of training at home before traveling to Mexico to reappear in the tournament in Acapulco, which takes place from February 25 to March 2 on hard court. Acapulco will be a rehearsal for the first two Masters 1,000 of the season, Indian Wells and Miami.
The fight for the number one will not have significant variations in the US tour, since Nadal does not defend points and Djokovic only defends 20 to fall defeated in the first round of Miami last season. A year ago both were far from their best physical shape. Rafa had to leave in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open against Cilic and the Serbian had suffered an operation in the right elbow in February 2018. Unlike last season, in Indian Wells will be all the greats. Djokovic, Rafa, Federer, Zverev, Del Potro … No one will be missing in the Californian desert.
Miami, the second Masters 1,000 of the season, is one of the few tournaments of the ATP that has not won Spanish, although it has played four finals. Djokovic has added six titles and shares the record of victories with the American Andre Agassi. The novelty this year will be that instead of playing at the historic facilities of Cayo Vizcaíno, it will be at the Hard Rock stadium where the Miami Dolphins of American football usually play.
After the US tour, the plans of the two best players in the world may not coincide until Madrid. Rafa plans to compete in Monte Carlo and Barcelona in search of his twelfth title in both tournaments. Then, if physically well, Madrid, Rome and Paris would arrive. Djokovic only considers being in the last three tournaments. And that his great obsession in the remainder of the season is to win back Roland Garros and chaining the four "Majors" followed for the second time. «The biggest challenge on the ground is to win Nadal, although there are also Thiem, Zverev, Federer … What I need is to work my game for the land a bit more, more specifically than I did last season», I assure in a recent interview in the "Daily Mail".
Rafa goes to Acapulco not only to compete. The first Rafa Nadal Tennis Center will also open on February 18 in Costa Mujeres, north of Cancun (Mexico). The complex has eight clay courts in which more than a hundred students will be trained.