Rafael Nadal has been the second strongest link in men’s tennis this season behind his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz. Rafa won two important titles at the Australian Open and Roland Garros before reaching the Wimbledon semifinal, but without adding the points.
Despite injuries and setbacks, Nadal is still in contention for the number 1 of the year before the ATP Finals, placing himself 1,000 points behind Alcaraz. Stefanos Tsitsipas is the third contender for number 1 of the year, and he needs to add all five wins in Turin to overtake Alcaraz and finish the season on a high note.
Novak Djokovic helped Nadal a bit, beating Stefanos in the Paris Masters semi-final and forcing the Greek to chase a perfect score in Turin to get past Nadal and Alcaraz. Rafa is no longer chasing ranking honours, but he still wants to give it his all in Turin and chase the title he is missing.
Nadal reached two ATP Finals title matches in the past, losing them to his biggest rivals, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard racked up another four semi-finals and two years ago missed a big chance against Daniil Medvedev, playing well but losing 3-6, 7-6, 6-3.
Rafa is not among the favorites in Turin, battling an abdominal injury since Wimbledon and playing just six matches since retiring from the All England Club. Nadal has had a perfect start to the 2022 season, winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros and building the ATP Race lead.
Eager for more at Wimbledon, Rafa won five matches despite a torn muscle in his abdomen, struggling with his first shot and retiring before the semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios.
Rafael Nadal on Nole Djokovic
In a recent interview with the ge media outlet, Rafael Nadal named Novak Djokovic as his biggest and most dangerous rival among active players.
“My biggest rival is Novak Djokovic. After all, he is the closest to the number of Grand Slams, with 21. And for all the times we face each other, for our history. Of all the active players, my most dangerous opponent, without a doubt, is Novak,» Rafael Nadal said.
Nadal stayed away from the courts for almost two months, trying to heal the injury and play at his best in Paris and Turin. The Spaniard suffered his first loss at the Paris Masters, falling to Tommy Paul 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 in two hours and 32 minutes.