ATP Rome - Can Rafael Nadal win his seventh Internazionali BNL d'Italia title?

Rafael Nadal (credit: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/GettyImages)
Rafael Nadal heads to the 2013 Internazionali BNL d'Italia looking to win his seventh title in Rome.

Nadal is the defending champion at this year's ATP Rome, and he'll have every intention of keeping hold of the title that he wrestled back from Novak Djokovic in 2012.

The Spaniard has already won the Internazionali BNL d'Italia title on six occasions, and his 36-2 record in Rome eclipses that of anyone else in the field.

There are lots of reasons why Rafa can win the title again - just look at how he's performed since returning from his knee injury. He recorded one suspect loss against Horacio Zeballos in the Vina Del Mar final, but that was only shortly after he returned to competitive action. He's reached the final in all six of the tournaments that he's entered to date in 2013, and that surely counts for something.

To add to this, the knee injury hasn't threatened to come back. Even when forced into back-to-back matches in Barcelona recently, Rafa seemed fitter than the rest of the opposition and raced through his second match, making Albert Ramos look distinctly mediocre.

What Nadal will need to look out for is the competition, and in particular, Djokovic. Still, besides Nole the competition isn't necessarily going to slow him down. Andy Murray misfired in Monte-Carlo and might not be capable of the best-ever clay court season that he's vowed to have in 2013. As for Federer, he's been off the tour for two-months, and in a very minor way is an unknown quantity in the main draw. Judging by recent and past form though, he won't be able to dethrone Rafa.

Djokovic, on the other hand, proved to be the one man capable of beating Rafa this season at the Monte Carlo Masters. Nadal had held a stranglehold on the title, but this only seemed to bring out the best in Novak. Given Rafa's history in Rome, we can expect Djokovic to have him in his sights from day one.

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ATP Rome - Can Rafael Nadal win his seventh Internazionali BNL d'Italia title?

Rafael Nadal heads to the 2013 Internazionali BNL d'Italia looking to win his seventh title in Rome.

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