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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

‘It’s always exciting to start like this’

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Rafael Nadal will finish the season ranked 2nd, winning two Major titles in 2022 and writing history books. At 36 years old, Nadal is the oldest tennis player in the top 2 of the year, surpassing Roger Federer and wanting more in the coming years.

Nadal has been among the best players in the world since 2005, breaking into the top-10 in April of that year and staying there ever since for a record that will be hard to beat. The Spaniard captured his first Major crown just days after his 19th birthday and added four Masters 1000 titles to his name to finish the season behind Roger Federer.

Rafa has always sought to improve, adding new elements to his game and lengthening his career despite numerous setbacks and injuries. The Spaniard became more aggressive five years ago, keen to cut points and preserve his body.

Nadal skipped the second part of the 2021 season due to a serious foot injury, playing only two matches after Roland Garros and preparing for a fresh start in 2022. As we all know, Rafa turned the tables and started the season with a perfect 20-0.

The Spaniard claimed three titles in a row, including his first Australian Open crown since 2009 after an epic win over Daniil Medvedev. Rafa broke a rib in Indian Wells and skipped Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He came back in Madrid and Rome and didn’t play at his best level, with more foot problems just around the corner.

Needing injections before each match, Nadal extended his Roland Garros dominance and claimed the 14th Parisian trophy to take him to 22 Major crowns. It was the last shining moment of the season for Rafa, that he injured his abdominal muscle at Wimbledon and withdrew before the semi-final.

The Spaniard only played nine more matches until the end of the year, adding four wins and experiencing four consecutive losses for the first time since 2009. Still, the veteran is pleased with his 2022 campaign, saying it is a gift to finish in such a position.

High and looking forward to more from January. Nadal will start the 2023 season at the United Cup in Australia at the end of December. “If you think about getting all this at 18, you’re super arrogant or dreamy, I’m neither.”

Latest update on Nadal

In Rafael Nadal’s absence, Spain crashed out of the Davis Cup, losing to Croatia in the quarterfinals in Malaga on Wednesday. However, La Furia Roja have made a rousing start to their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign in Qatar.

Understandably delighted with the big win, Nadal said: “Spain started the World Cup in the best possible way; it’s only the first game, although it’s always exciting to start like this.”

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