If Rafael Nadal is going to get his 2015 season back on track, Stuttgart is a great place to start. Nadal went into this ATP World Tour 250 series tournament as the 2/1 favorite against a relatively light field; Marin Cilic was the second favorite at 4/1, followed by Feliciano Lopez at 5/1.
Nadal is a two-time Stuttgart Open champion, taking the title in 2005 and 2007, and he’s won eight of the 12 tournaments he’s entered at the ATP 250 level. But this isn’t the Rafael Nadal that we’re used to. He’s fallen to No. 10 in the world rankings after getting bounced in the quarterfinals at the Rome Masters and the French Open, both on his preferred clay surface.
Speaking of which, the Stuttgart Open was played on clay when Nadal won in 2005 and 2007. This is the first year they’ll be playing on grass courts as part of the run-up to the Wimbledon Championships later this month. Nadal won at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010, but is 53-15 lifetime on grass (78%), and just 5-5 since 2012. On clay, Nadal has a career record of 339-30 (92%).