Tennis analyst Paul Annacone has slammed the “Rafael Nadal can only play well on clay” claim. Nadal, 35, is a record 13-time French Open and widely considered as the greatest clay courter in tennis history. However, Nadal has had big wins outside clay – most recently at the Australian Open.
Nadal owns an impressive record of 15-0 in 2022. Nadal, who played in just one event in the second part of the 2021 season, started the 2022 season by winning the Melbourne Summer Set, Australian Open and Acapulco. “And most importantly, he is so confident,” Annacone said on Tennis Channel.
“Looking at those numbers: 25 times a titlist on hardcourts. It gets tiring to talk to people because they say – ‘he is one-dimensional, he was just so dominant on the clay.’ This guy can play on everything. And to see him at 35 years of age, this confident, starting a year 15-0 – I just think it’s a great story.”
Annacone on Nadal’s chances in Indian Wells
Nadal arrived to the Indian Wells Masters as one of the top favorites for the title. Nadal is a three-time Indian Wells champion but he hasn’t had a winning run in the desert since 2013.
“I think the conditions are great for Rafa here,” Annacone said. “It’s a gritty court. The ball grabs the court, goes through the court a little bit slower once it hits the court, but faster through the air.
Which means spin is going to be exacerbated, which means that’s problems for the other guys on the other side of the net because the ball is going to grab and jump. And we know how well he moves.” Nadal’s stunning comeback to tennis has been making the headlines throughout the whole season.
Nadal won Acapulco in Late February and he is certainly well-rested ahead of Indian Wells. It remains to be seen if Nadal can continue his strong season in Indian Wells and win his fourth title in 2022.