Rafael Nadal will not defend title in 2023

Nadal will embrace the South American swing after a regular season. The 22-time Major winner will visit Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Mexico in November and early December. Nadal will hit Plaza de Toros ‘La Mexico’ on December 1 with Casper Ruud, visiting the Mexican capital for the first time and hoping for a show.

As he admitted, it could be his last appearance in Mexico as a professional player, skipping the next year’s ATP 500 Acapulco event. Thus, Nadal will not defend the title he won this year, reducing his schedule since becoming a father and focusing on the most notable tournaments in the calendar.

Rafa won four Acapulco titles between 2005 and 2022, always enjoying competing at this event but not thinking about returning in the future. Rafa went to Acapulco a few weeks after the Australian Open title this year, feeling fresh and seeking the season’s third title.

The Spaniard defeated Daniil Medvedev in the semi-final and faced Cameron Norrie in the title clash. Nadal defeated Norrie 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 54 minutes for his 91st ATP title and the 25th on hard. Rafa served at 79% and got broken twice from five chances offered to his rival.

Norrie also played against five break points and lost serve four times to find himself on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

Rafael Nadal will not play in Acapulco next year.

The Spaniard had 19 winners and 11 unforced errors, dominating with his forehand and emerging at the top despite solid resistance from the 6th seed.

A three-time champion grabbed a break at 15 in the opener’s game five with a forehand crosscourt winner and cemented the advantage with a service winner for a 4-2 lead. Nadal took 12 of the last 13 points to settle into a fine rhythm and fired another booming serve in game eight for 5-3.

Cameron closed the ninth game with a service winner after three deuces, and Rafa sealed the set with a hold at 15 a few minutes later for 6-4 in 50 minutes. The Spaniard placed a forehand down the line winner to gain an early break in the second set.

Norrie seized the fourth break chance in game two following Nadal’s loose backhand to break back and gain a boost. The Briton held at love in game three, and the Spaniard locked the result at 2-2 with an unreturned serve.

Rafa broke in game five with a smash winner at the net and placed another in the next one to open a 4-2 gap. With everything working his way, Nadal earned the third straight game with a break in game seven to find himself 5-2 in front and serve for the title.

Cameron pulled one break back at 15 following Rafa’s loose forehand and held with an ace down the T line in the next one to reduce the deficit to 5-4. Serving for the victory for the second time, Nadal held at 15 in game ten to seal the deal and continue his perfect run at the beginning of 2022.

“I’m excited to play in Mexico. Hopefully, the public will come to see us, and we can have a packed stadium. I have always felt very loved and supported, so I’m excited to play in Mexico City, with such a unique, symbolic environment.

It will probably be one of the last times I can play in Latin America as a professional player. I will not defend my Acapulco title next year, and I’m not sure I can return to Mexico by the end of my career. That makes the upcoming match unique and special, and I want to enjoy it. I hope the Mexican crown will feel the same so that we can have an unforgettable day together,” Rafael Nadal said.

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