Yes He’s back. No he did not win his first comeback tournament. Just watched his final with Zeballos at Vina Del Mar, and sadly for Nadal fans he lost in 3 sets – 7-6, 6-7, 4-6. But frankly I did not expect him to be explosive in the first few tournaments. He is still feeling his knee and that was evident in his movements if you missed the band around his knee. I am sure he is not too comfortable being on the court right now but then how long can you sit out when tennis is your life. Very uncharacteristically he didn’t bother to chase down the ball and that too in some important points. His shot making was lacking and missed some downright simple plays. That he is yet to regain his composure and confidence after such a long break from competition was evident in the net plays. Time and again he attempted to come to the nets for the precarious points and again again he was unsure whether to go further up the net or go back to the baseline after 1~2 plays, resulting in him being stranded midcourt in some points. Earlier he would run and hit the down-the-line shots or even drag the opponent in to play cross-courts, but his lack of confidence (and also partly perhaps due to the pain) meant he refrained from doing either of those things. This was not the same Nadal as back in Paris last year.
But then truly it isn’t the same Nadal. This is a player who has suffered a painful injury and illness and has finally come out to play with the doctors telling him that its still going to hurt. He has come back from injury before however that was markedly different and it showed in his movements. No the Nadal from yesteryears is not back (YET!!!), but his multitude of fans can still take solace from the fact that he has grown in confidence over the week and will not have to sit out before plunging back in play since he will now move to the Brasil Open and continue his comeback there. So here to all Rafa fans, and primarily to Nadal himself, your fans wish you a speedy recovery and hope in every tournament that you will be back with the bullish attitude that won you so many fans – VAMOS RAFA!!!