Nadal out of elite group in tennis?

Nadal out of elite group in tennis?

Rafael Nadal disappointed once again in his most recent tournament bowing out in the semifinals of the 2016 Argentina Open. This happened weeks after his first round exit at the 2016 Australian Open

Nadal, the top seed and the defending champion in the ATP tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina, fell to Austrian youngster Dominic Thiem on Sunday in three sets, 4-6 6-4 6-7 (4).

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In the previous tournament, the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne, Nadal fell to compatriot Fernando Verdasco in the first round marking another early round exit in the recent Grand Slam tournaments.

In 2012, Nadal got ousted in the second round of the Wimbledon Championships falling to then World No. 100 Lukas Rosol, 4-6 4-6 6-2 4-6.

In 2013, Nadal was again eliminated early in Wimby, this time even worse, in the first round. Nadal lost to then World No. 135 Steve Darcis in straight sets, 6-7 (4) 6-7 (8) 4-6.

After a fourth round exit in 2014, 2015 was again a bad year for Nadal in the London Grand Slam tournament. Nadal fell to then World No. 102 Dustin Brown in the second round, 5-7 6-3 4-6 4-6.

This was the worst finish by Nadal last season but he also fared bad in the three other Grand Slam tournaments. He got busted out in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and French Open and in the third round of the US Open.

Since winning the 2014 French Open, Nadal has not gotten past the quarterfinals of the last seven Grand Slam tournaments. Nadal’s record in the last three ATP seasons, including the January and February tournaments in 2016, Nadal only has 113 wins against 33 losses or just 77.3 per cent winning percentage.

While Nadal’s numbers are down, his rivals like Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray has continued their deep runs. Others like Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych have also been more consistent than Nadal.

Is Nadal now not part of the tennis’ elite group? Is Nadal already past his prime in his career?

Photo courtesy: Christopher Johnson/Wikimedia Commons