Rafael Nadal’s longevity has left fans and pundits alike in awe. Hardly anyone expected the Spaniard to have such a long career at the highest level, despite the fact that injuries have forced him to miss several important appointments.
Suffice it to say that the 36-year-old man from Manacor is the player from the big three who has missed the most Grand Slam tournaments. The former world number 1, who had only played seven official tournaments in 2021, redeemed himself this year by winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros against all odds.
His career was abruptly cut short in the second half of the season, also by the abdominal tear he suffered at Wimbledon. In addition to not being able to play the semifinals of the Championship, the Iberian appeared at the US Open in precarious conditions and did not go beyond the round of 16.
These days Rafa is preparing for the new season, where he will continue his duel from a distance with Novak Djokovic. In a recent interview for the ITF website, former Spanish challenger Roberto Menéndez recalled his first meeting with Nadal.
«Rafael Nadal and I met for the first time in the ‘Future Spain F20’ tournament. I lost 6-4 in the third after a good battle,» Menendez said. “We did a very funny interview on Televisión Española, because the media wanted to talk to two potential world number 1s.
When Rafa was just 16 years old, he told me that he didn’t care about being in the top 10. He wanted to reach the top of the ATP ranking. He had a lot of confidence in his future and knew that he had the capacity to aspire to certain goals,” added Roberto.
Rafa is honest about his team
Rafael Nadal was asked in a post-match press conference if setbacks like this would make him consider retiring. “So you are very, very interested in my retirement (smiling). I mean, that’s not the case at the moment.
When this day comes, I’ll let you guys know. Do not continue with the retirement because I am here to continue playing tennis,» said the Spaniard. «He is [de Minaur] a great player. Playing super fast.
Playing with a very high intensity. Taking the ball very early. Service improved. Yes, it’s going to be another very difficult match that I need to play very well to have any chance. So let’s see,» said Nadal. Losing my match now we are under a lot of pressure. So let’s see,» said the Spaniard.