Rafael Nadal has won two Majors in 2022, extending his lead over Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the all-time rankings. The Spanish star won at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, despite excruciating foot pain raising fears that retirement was imminent.
The former world number 1 also played great tennis at Wimbledon, but an abdominal tear prevented him from playing the semi-final against Nick Kyrgios. That injury also affected his preparation for the US Open, where he didn’t make it past the round of 16 (beaten in four sets by Frances Tiafoe).
The end of the season was to forget for the Mallorcan, defeated in his debut in Paris-Bercy and eliminated in the group stage of the ATP Finals in Turin. Despite the difficulties encountered in recent months, the 36-year-old Iberian remains motivated and will try to increase his record in 2023.
At the end of the first leg of his South American tour, Nadal paid tribute to the Argentine public. “It has always been a unique feeling to play in Argentina,” Nadal began without mincing words. “Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to come here as often as I would have liked.
After playing in Argentina for the first time in 2005, my career started to take off. Having the opportunity to play with Casper Ruud, who is a great player as well as a good friend, it is really a pleasure. I am also very happy to have played with Gisela and Gaby, two of the greatest exponents of Argentine tennis.
Argentine fans are the best in the world and they know this sport very well,” added the 22-time Grand Slam champion. Recently, the well-known commentator Brett Haber urged fans not to write Nadal off: “Everyone has the right to express their opinion and people are perfectly free to think that Rafa’s career has come to an end.
However, I think it is a mistake to say such a thing just because Nadal lost two matches in the Finals on a very fast court and with very little rebound.”
Nadal reflects on the homogenization of surfaces
Speaking about his early years on tour, World No.
2 Rafael Nadal observed how the game has evolved from patient transition play to first-strike tennis. He said (as quoted by Marca): “Before, the points were prepared waiting for the right ball to attack, not all the balls were attacked, the right ball was expected.
Today there are no transition balls or point preparation. Each ball that is hit is with the objective of winning the period. It has gone well for me, nothing should be changed for me, but emotionally speaking I like another type of sport more, which allows you more options and implement a tactic,” he said.