Rafael Nadal is out of the top 8 for the first time since January 2017! Unlike six years ago, the Spaniard will not have a chance to get a significant result and improve his ranking, ready to leave the top 10 after Indian Wells for the first time since April 2005! Rafa made no attempt to defend 500 ATP points last week, withdrawing from Dubai and extending his break from tennis due to injury. Nadal has 3,315 ATP points, six behind the young Dane Holger Rune, who knocked him out of the top-8.
Nadal was in a great position to finish the previous season on a high at 36 years old after winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros. Rafa led the ATP Race despite injuries and setbacks, seeking a third straight Major crown at Wimbledon.
The Spaniard ousted Taylor Fritz after an incredible five-setter in the quarterfinals, prevailing by more than four hours despite apparent problems. The veteran revealed a 7mm abdominal tear and withdrew ahead of his semi-final matchup with Nick Kyrgios.
Plagued by injuries, Rafael Nadal will leave the top-10 in two weeks.
Despite trying his best to recover, it remains Nadal’s last notable tournament. The Spaniard had three wins at the US Open before losing to Frances Tiafoe.
The pain was still there and Rafa missed all the action before the Paris Masters. Never enjoying the indoor conditions, Nadal struggled to find a rhythm after a long layoff, losing four straight matches for the first time since 2009!
Not the end of the year. 1 battle became mission impossible, and Rafa embraced an offseason, hoping for a fresh start in 2023, similar to the one she had a year ago. Instead, he has played just four games this year, losing three and sealing his top-10 fate.
Nadal won the first set against Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur at the United Cup in Sydney. However, the Spaniard lost his pace in sets two and three to suffer losses after more than two hours and 40 minutes. Not feeling at his best, Rafa gave it his all as he searched for his Australian Open title defense.
He outpointed young Brit Jack Draper and faced Mackenzie McDonald in the second round. The American proved too strong and scored a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph for a place in the third round. Rafa injured his left hip late in the second set, refusing to retire and giving 120% in the third.
However, he suffered a late break to propel the rival over the top and lose nearly 2000 ATP points. After further checks, Nadal revealed a grade 2 iliopsoas injury that forced him to miss Doha and Dubai. Rafa started with basic preparations on clay, making it clear that he was not prepared to compete in Indian Wells and Miami.
Nadal will try to recover in time for Monte Carlo, but Barcelona and Madrid also present themselves as options after a slow recovery process.