Rafael Nadal would rather forget his campaign in 2016.
Injuries have vexed the 14-time Grand Slam winner, resulting in a futile run that saw him fail to win a major title in the past entire year.
Not typically so Rafa, especially when he was at his prime like a matador masterfully mowing down a raging bull in a jampacked arena.
But the Spanish warrior won’t just back down and fade away into oblivion. After all, despite believing he can still pack a mean wallop at 30 years of age, he is still oozing with confidence.
The emergence of younger, stronger netters is also not a cause to worry, nor the challenge still being posed by his fellow veterans among them Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, to name a few.
For Rafa, 2017 represents a new match to be served out and won.
Forget about the past year and move on is perhaps the biggest motivation he is carrying through as he tries to roll back the halcyon days when he was at the apex, and lording it over particularly on the clay courts.
As of this writing, he is currently playing in the Monte Carlo Masters, waxing nostalgic as he returns to the venue where he built his bragging right as the finest tennis player on clay.
Nadal is back at Monte Carlo Club as the defending champion after whipping Gael Monfils of France to nail his ninth title last year.
“This is an important event. It’s one of my favourite events of the year without a doubt. Monte-Carlo is unique for me. I’m trying to work as much as I can to be ready for the competition and adjust my game again to clay. I am excited to be here,’’ said Nadal, a former No. 1 in the world way back in 2008. He is now ranked No. 7.
He is hoping to become the first player to lift 10 trophies at a single tournament in the Open Era.
And with long-time nemesis Federer out on a break, he aims to put up a brilliant show in the Emirates ATP Race To London as his favourite clay-court season takes center stage.
Although he lost to Victor Troicki of Serbia in the recent Shanghai Masters, another event in Basel and the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London are also on his agenda.
In the ongoing Monte Carlo Masters, the fourth-seeded Nadal launched his bid for a 10th title by dumping Kyle Edmund of Britain, 6-0, 5-7, 6-3, to enter the third round in a sign of more good things to come.
And then he crushed Alexander Zverev, 6-1, 6-1. Just like that, he is in the quarterfinals.
This year, momentum is definitely on Nadal’s side and with the way he is performing, he looks good enough for another two or three more years whacking those rackets to score past opponents.
Or can he still play beyond that? Let’s see.