Out of all the players in the big 4, Nadal has struggled the most with recent form and fitness. Known for supremely physical game style, the wear and tear resulting from years of competition has attributed to Nadal’s shaky form. After deciding to take the latter half of the 2016 season off to focus on recovery, Nadal showed in Australia that he is still a viable contender for major titles. More importantly, he managed to make it to the final of a tournament which was played on a fast surface. With so many people excited about the possible rekindling of the Federer and Nadal rivalry, a big cloud of mystery still surrounds Nadal.

With so many stops and starts to his seasons in recent years is Nadal ready to make a serious run consistently

Nadal is not getting any younger

Nadal is currently sitting at the age that most Tennis players despise; thirty. In tennis years, thirty pretty much means that you are a dinosaur. And while some players (mainly #Serena Williams and to a lesser extent, Federer) have managed to find success, it is still rather rare. One of the big knocks to Nadal’s game style has always been the physicality of it, and how labored every single win of his seems to be. In comparison to Federer (who glides around the court), Nadal expends so much energy trying to inflict pain on his opponents. When he was in his early twenties, that strategy worked because he was competing on fresh legs.

But then, the first of now chronic knee injuries has caused Nadal to rethink the game style that made him number 1 in the world. There are certain things that a tennis player can look to improve as they progress through their career but at what cost? If Nadal becomes too aggressive, it may result in a significant dip to his ranking.

At this point in his career, the best only option may be to play less.

Carlos Moya may be Nadal's saving grace

With the recent announcement of Nadal uncle, Toni concerning his departure his nephew’s camp, Carlos Moya is primed to become the head coach. Moya himself is a former world number 1 and major champion. He knows the types of pressures that Nadal has to endure and can provide insights that Toni could only dream of.

Moya also acted as a bit of a mentor for Nadal as they are both from #Mallorca. Moya is a tactical genius and showed that he could make a difference by helping Milos Raonic make it to the #Wimbledon final last year. Another voice in Nadal’s ear is long overdue, and tennis is very much a game of margins. Moya will also look to encourage Nadal to come into the net and finish off points more quickly. Nadal is an underrated volleyer, and one way to preserve your body is to move forward. It will be interesting to see how Toni and Carlos coexist in during the rest of the season and what type of role Moya will have. The difference between the world number 1 and the world number 70 could come down to something as simple as a better game plan.