After facing each other for more than 16 years, there is not much that separates Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard and Serbian have won an almost identical number of ATP titles, Masters 1000 trophies and Majors, highlighting 59 Tour clashes since 2006.
On Monday, Nadal joined Djokovic with 672 weeks in the top three, making the two legends share second place behind Roger Federer, who tops the list with 750. Nadal broke into the top 3 after his first title from a Major at Roland Garros in 2005.
Rafa got it a couple of days after his 19th birthday, and he’s still a part of that group more than 17 years later! Nadal is the second best link on the men’s Tour in 2022 behind his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz. Rafa has won two Major titles this year and has no points to defend for the rest of the year.
Nadal will almost certainly finish the year in the top 3 and move ahead of Djokovic on that list. Rafa stayed in the top 3 between 2005 and 2012 after an amazing start to his career. The Spaniard had injury problems and left the aforementioned group for the first time after entering it.
He put in a big effort in 2013 before experiencing more trouble in 2015 and 2016, barely remaining in the top 10. Nadal returned to his best in 2017, regaining his dominance at Roland Garros and winning four more titles in Paris in the previous five years.
Rafa only played 29 matches in 2021 and lost a bit of ground against top rivals. He only played two games after the Roland Garros semi-final loss to Djokovic and finished the season in August to focus on 2022.
Carla Suarez Navarro talks about Nadal
Carla Suárez Navarro recently spoke about Rafael Nadal’s departure from tennis.
“Obviously, Rafa continues, but we are in his last years. Time passes for everyone and has been subject to much demand. Physically he is no longer what he was, although mentally he will always surprise us, ”he remarked.
The 36-year-old then went on to win a historic 14th French Open title and 22nd Grand Slam trophy. Nadal’s doctor, Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, recently shed light on the athlete’s health. «Rafa is fine, very happy with his paternity,» said Cotorro.
«Once that situation is fulfilled, which logically takes you out of the day-to-day, he is training well and following the end-of-season schedule.»