Rafael Nadal claimed his fourth US Open crown in 2019 after a thrilling victory over Daniil Medvedev in the final. The Spaniard missed the previous two editions of the season finale Major and will be back in action in New York next week.
Nadal is already in New York, training for a couple of days after his early elimination at the Cincinnati Masters at the hands of eventual champion Borna Coric. Rafa will seek the fifth title in his second most successful Major and the ATP throne at 36 years old.
Nadal leads the ATP Race To Turin after a 35-4 record in 2022, capturing two Major titles and having a chance to return to No. 1 in the world. Rafa’s main concern at the moment is serving from him, since he suffered an abdominal injury at Wimbledon and it is difficult for him to serve correctly during training.
Additionally, he experienced an early exit in Cincinnati and headed to New York with no momentum. Rafa missed the second part of 2021 due to a foot injury and this year she has returned perfectly. At the start of this season, he claimed three consecutive titles, including his first Australian Open crown in 13 years.
This allowed him to stay ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and gave him a boost for the next few months. With momentum on his side, Nadal lifted the trophy in Acapulco and reached the Indian Wells final for a perfect start to the season.
He played it with a fractured rib and lost to Taylor Fritz in straight sets, experiencing the first loss in 2022. Rafa missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona and did not play at his usual level in Madrid and Rome, lacking form and games.
Nadal hit the ground running on the biggest stage and secured his 14th Roland Garros title to write the history books.
McEnroe pays tribute to Nadal
Interviewed by Spanish newspaper Marca just days before the start of the US Open, John McEnroe was inevitably asked about Rafael Nadal having a chance to strike in the absence of Novak Djokovic in New York.
“I think he will finish number one, I would be very surprised if that didn’t happen. It’s amazing that he can do this, considering the long period of inactivity he has had in 2021 due to his foot injury. Rafa always does things you don’t believe in and that’s why he is considered the best or one of the best in history.
He didn’t play in the Wimbledon semi-final because of his abdominal tear, but he didn’t look too bad in the match against Coric in Cincinnati. With all due respect to this tournament, Nadal is worried about the US Open.»