Rafael Nadal's alternate coach Francisco Roig has admitted that the Spaniard has changed his approach in 2017 after struggling in recent years with form and fitness.
The 14-time men's singles Grand Slam champion struggled with injury in 2015 and 2016 managing just five titles combined. Nadal has already made five finals in 2017 and won two tournaments – Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open.
Roig revealed that Nadal has stepped up his game from previous years, but feels other players like Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic have also changed this year. The former has surprised everyone with his form this season, winning three of the four tournaments he has played thus far which includes adding an 18th Grand Slam title to his kitty, while the latter two – currently ranked number one and two in the world respectively - have struggled for form after dominating the last two seasons.
"The truth is that Rafa changed much, but not only him, also Federer, who I would say is playing his best tennis ever. And Djokovic and Murray, who in the last years had won everything, dropped a little bit and Rafa increased his level, he won these two titles and entered in a positive dynamic," Roig said, as quoted by Tennis World USA.
Nadal's coach also spoke of the world number five's goals for 2017. Similar to Federer, Nadal is not hell bent on chasing the number one ranking. The 30-year-old, according to his coach, is keen on remaining competitive against the best players and focus on winning Grand Slam titles.
"If you come back to be World No. 1 it's because you won big titles, but the most important thing is that he sees himself competitive against the best players and to play and win as many Grand Slam titles as possible, which is his goal but also Roger and Nole's," Nadal's coach added.