Despite suffering a shocking defeating in only his second match at Indian Wells, Rafael Nadal has not left the venue. He is still in the Californian desert training and getting himself ready for his next assignment which is the Sony Open.

On the social networking site Facebook yesterday, the Spaniard uploaded a snap of him putting in some hard yards on the practice court. With that snap, he wrote “In Indian Wells, Gearing up for the Sony Open.”

The Sony Open is also going to take place on the hard courts. So, it might not be such a bad idea for Nadal to stay at Indian Wells and train.

Nadal hasn’t had a fruitful 2014 till this point of time. He had actually started well and was looking good in the Australian Open, but, in the final match there, Stanislas Wawrinka, the Swiss player, defeated him against all the odds and that’s what broke his rhythm completely.

In the tournaments that he has played thereafter, Nadal hasn’t appeared to be in rhythm at all. It’s not that he hasn’t won matches. He has won them. He has even won a title in Brazil, but, that fluency has not been there in his game.

However, Nadal is still at the top of the world rankings, but, not by a big margin. His arch rival Novak Djokovic is breathing down his neck. So, it’s very important for the Spaniard to play well in the Sony Open and at least reach the title round.

Sony Open will start from next Monday and will continue till the 30th of this month. Nadal, quite obviously, has been given the top seed in the tournament. The second and the third seeds are Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka respectively.

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The former English player, Wally Masur, reckons that it’s Rafael Nadal who will be the favourite to go all the way in the first Grand Slam of the next season i.e. the Australian Open.

Nadal was the most consistent player on the tour in the last season. He lifted a lot of trophies during the season and at the end of the season, he was at the top of the world rankings.

Novak Djokovic’s performance in the season was alright too, but, towards the end of the season, his form deteriorated a bit and he moved down in the world rankings. Soon after that, his coach quit as well and he had to appoint a new coach.

According to Masur, the new coach brings fresh energy and that can be very helpful for a player at times, but, still, if one has to pick the favourite, it has to be Nadal.

When asked which male player will go into the Australian Open as favourite, Masur said, “There is nothing different this time around. It’s again the top 4 guys who will be quite difficult to beat. As far as the favourite is concerned, I think its Rafa. Novak is also a world class player. He has just appointed a new head coach and that can actually be quite good for him, but, still, if I have to take one name, I would say Rafa.”

“Novak is very strong on hard courts. His best performances in the last few years have come on those kinds of surfaces. But, his problem is that he has not managed to be as consistent as he should be.”

Djokovic is currently at the second position in the World rankings. He had won the Australian Open in the last season.

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