Nadal strikes for significant Acapulco hat-trick

 - Alex Sharp

The 19-time Grand Slam champion added to 2005 and 2013 titles won on the Pacific Coast in Mexico

Rafael Nadal screaming in Melbourne 2020©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Scroll back through the roll of honour at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel and Rafael Nadal’s name springs up back in 2005.

Rewind 15 years and the 18-year-old teenage sensation was compiling his breakout season on the ATP Tour.

Nadal swept to his third career title, dismissing the likes of Guillermo Canas and Mariano Puerta, before conceding just a single game to compatriot Albert Montanes in the final.

Nadal stormed through the draw

Obviously, the Spaniard was previously on the tennis radar, but this was a significant title for Nadal, a springboard for his 11-title season of 2005, which heralded his maiden Grand Slam at Roland-Garros.

“I couldn’t be happier. I played a great event from the beginning to the end,” said Nadal, after picking up his 85th career title and first trophy since the US Open in September.

“Acapulco was the first big title that I won in my career, so to be able to stay here after 15 years is amazing. I can’t thank enough the people who make me feel at home every single time."

The 33-year-old’s 2005 and 2013 Acapulco triumphs were achieved on clay, prior to the event converting to hard courts. Both those title runs were dominant displays without dropping a set all week and Nadal once again stormed through the draw winning every set.

“It means another good start of the season“

The 6-3 6-2 entertaining semi-final victory over Grigor Dimitrov was replicated with the same scoreline facing world No.24 Taylor Fritz in the silverware showdown.

The defence was at its defiant best all week, the lassoed forehand caused havoc, the return in particular was finding bullseye.

Champion in Acapulco in 2005 and 2013 contributed to his most trophy-laden campaigns, with 11 and 10 respectively, a positive factor considering the ‘Sunshine Swing’ is fast approaching.

“This title doesn’t mean that I will have a great season. It means another good start of the season for me.

©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

‘Sunshine Swing’ poised for scintillating storylines

“It was an important week for me, after not competing since the Australian Open quarter-finals. I played with the right intensity, the right passion,” declared the 19-time Grand Slam champion, who has now clinched a singles title for a 17th successive season.

It gives me confidence, allows me to be in a privileged position in the ATP Race (To London). At the end of the day, I’m still competing for these feelings that I am having right now. Regardless of the result, I am always happy after playing here. Now imagine how I am after getting the title!”

The reigning Roland-Garros champion has the positivity pulsing around his body once again courtesy of another perfect week in Acapulco.

With world No.1 Novak Djokovic ruling Dubai for a fifth time last week, the ‘Sunshine Swing’ is poised for some scintillating storylines.