The Spanish star does not look good going into the US Open.
Since coming back from an injury that forced Nadal to miss Wimbledon, Nadal has had 2 byes and 7 matches. In those matches, which took place in Montreal and in Cincinnati, he has gone 5-2 while winning 8 sets and losing 4 (one match he won via retirement - David Ferrer). The 2 lost matches were both against quality hardcourt players in Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro but Nadal supporters should still be concerned.
The reasons his fans should be concerned are two-fold.
Firstly, Nadal failed to take a set off of either Del Potro or Djokovic in falling. Prior to the injury Nadal had not played in a hardcourt tournament since Miami of this year. In that tournament, when Nadal was ranked #1 in the world, Del Potro took him out but it was a very competitive match. Nadal won the first set and he was only defeated in the third set in a tiebreaker. Previous to Miami, Nadal played at Indian Wells and that was a tournament he won with only one dropped set (David Nalbandian). Clearly, Nadal, though still a force on tour, is not playing hardcourts as well post-injury yet as he was prior to the French Open this year.
The second reason Nadal fans should be concerned is that we are heading right into the heart of what is historically the worse time of year for Nadal. The US Open is the only Slam that Nadal has not won and, in fact, he has not even made the final there. Last year was his best showing ever as he made the semifinals in Flushing Meadows but that means he has a lot of points to protect (900 to be exact).
The combination of Nadal's lowered play and the fact that we are at the doorstep of the Grand Slam where he has historically not played his best tennis does not paint a picture of optimism for Nadal. While he should be able to walk over his 1st and 2nd round opponents, an unlucky draw could send the Spaniard to the sidelines early in this Slam. Novak Djokovic, the 4th ranked player on tour, is about 1400 points behind of Nadal in the ATP rankings and with 2000 points up for grabs at the US Open Nadal, at least mathematically, could be caught here (Djokovic was also a semifinalist last year).
Nadal supporters would be smart to stay back for a couple rounds and have a look at how Nadal does through two rounds before making any kind of bet. While that will shorten the odds on Nadal since betting from the 3rd round is less risky than pre-tournament bets it will also provide some needed information about the Spaniard.
Look for Nadal to beat his 1st and 2nd round opponents convincingly before picking Nadal in the futures market. Straight sets victories while winning something like 57%-60% of the points would hint that Nadal is in fact a serious contender.
Go to bet365 to make your picks for the US Open.