Rafael Nadal has been fighting injuries for a couple of years. The Spaniard has won a Major in five of the previous six seasons, but often had to take breaks and skip many essential tournaments. Boris Becker, a six-time Major winner, doesn’t see Rafa play until he is 40 and believes his retirement is probably just around the corner.
Nadal was unable to catch a breather in 2021, experiencing setbacks and skipping the second part of the season with foot problems. Out of shape and with leg matches, Rafa started from scratch at the beginning of 2022 and surprised everyone, including himself.
The Spaniard went 20-0 in the first four tournaments of the season and lifted his first Australian Open crown since 2009. Nadal overcame all challenges and defeated Daniil Medvedev in an epic final to become the first player with 21 Grand Slam titles.
Rafa ended his streak in the Indian Wells final against Taylor Fritz, fracturing his left rib and staying off the slopes until May. The king of clay courts did not give his best game in Madrid and Rome, and his left foot bothered him again facing Roland Garros.
Looking for his 14th Parisian title, Nadal needed pre-match injections to ease the pain and move smoothly. Rafa overcame tough challenges and secured his 22nd Major title after a dominating victory over Casper Ruud in the final.
Nadal continued his streak of Greats at Wimbledon and reached the semifinal. Rafa defeated Taylor Fritz in a thrilling quarter-final and revealed a seven-millimeter abdominal tear that forced him to withdraw and miss the clash against Nick Kyrgios.
Wimbledon was the last decent tournament for Nadal, who battled injuries for months and won just four more matches at the end of the season. Hoping to have another good start to the season like 12 months ago, Rafa participated in the inaugural edition of the United Cup and lost to Cameron Norrie and Alex De Minaur.
Eager to defend the title in Melbourne, Nadal outpointed Jack Draper in the first round, desperate for momentum and more wins.
Uncle Toni opens up about Nadal
After expressing his anger and sending a message to the authorities after the new injury to his Rafael Nadal, eliminated in the second round of the Australian Open, Toni Nadal spoke about the rest of his nephew’s season.
“My illusion now is focused on seeing him, once again, raise his head and fight to be at Roland Garros to defend his chances. I hope his body responds, because the commitment and the ability to suffer, I think he will not miss it, ”wrote the Spanish coach in his column for El País. As a reminder, Rafa will already be away for a period of six to eight weeks.