Rafael Nadal: ‘I wasn’t there as many times as…’

Rafael Nadal won two majors in 2022, extending over Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the all-time rankings. The Spanish champion won at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, despite the tremendous pain in his foot made him fear that the retirement was imminent.

The former world number 1 also expressed great tennis at Wimbledon, but a tear in his abs prevented him from playing the semi-final against Nick Kyrgios. That injury also affected his preparation for the US Open, where he didn’t go beyond the round of 16 (beaten in four sets by Frances Tiafoe).

The season finale was one to forget for the Majorcan, defeated on his debut in Paris-Bercy and eliminated in the group stage at the ATP Finals in Turin. Despite the difficulties encountered in recent months, the 36-year-old Iberian is still motivated and will try to increase his showcase in 2023.

At the end of the first leg of his South American tour, Nadal wanted to pay tribute to the Argentine public.

Rafa pays tribute to the Argentinian crowd

At the end of the first stage of his South American tour of exhibition matches in Argentina, Rafael Nadal, at the stadium microphone following his two matches in singles and doubles, paid a fine tribute to the Argentinian public, still as h*t and faithful.

“It’s a unique feeling to play here. Maybe I wasn’t there as many times as I would have liked. But I will always keep in my heart that after 2005 when I first played, my career really started to take off. Having the opportunity to play with Casper, who is a great player, world number 3, a good friend and an excellent person, and also to play with Gisela and Gaby, two references in Argentine and Latin tennis for the past 20 years, pleasure.

Argentinians are some of the best fans, if not the best in the world, and they know the sport very well.” Speaking on the Tennis Channel Inside-In podcast recently, sportswriter Chris Oddo reflected on Nadal’s season, saying that if he can find his top fitness level in 2023, he will be the player to beat.

“We forget Rafa because not much has happened for him off-late, the injuries kind of caught up with him, he became a father, and a lot of things happened. But two Slams at the beginning of the year and I think what he proved to me and what I think is still going to be true going forward is that if Rafa can find a way to get that diesel engine going and get to peak fitness where he’s comfortable with the surface, where he’s going to be playing, he gets a little bit of a lead-up, his body’s not giving him issues, if he peaks, he can beat anybody and do the damage. He can do that again next year.”

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