After injuries and setbacks, Rafael Nadal is still a happy camper at the end of 2022. The Spanish legend clinched two Major crowns this year, beating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and standing alone in all 22 tennis trophies.
most prominent. Additionally, Rafa is the oldest player in the top two of the year since the start of the ATP rankings in 1973, snatching that record from Roger Federer. Although he knows he can’t go on ten more years, Nadal is eager to play at his best for a few more seasons and extend his already incredible legacy.
Rafa had a season to forget last year, struggling with a foot injury and playing just two matches following the Roland Garros loss to Novak Djokovic. Not knowing what to expect, Nadal headed to Australia this January, eager to check on his situation and hoping to play as many matches as possible.
Like many other times, the Spaniard stopped the clock and made the best start to the season of his career after winning the first 20 games. Nadal claimed three straight titles, including his first Australian Open crown since 2009, after an epic win over Daniil Medvedev.
Rafa broke a rib in Indian Wells and lost the final to Taylor Fritz in straight sets. The king of clay skipped Monte Carlo and Barcelona and lost steam. He came back in Madrid and Rome and played well below his best level, with more foot problems before his beloved Major.
Needing injections before every match in Paris, Nadal extended his dominance of Roland Garros and claimed the 14th trophy in 18 trips to the French capital. It was the last shining moment of Rafa’s season, which at that point was hard to believe.
Nadal on how the game has evolved
Rafael Nadal rues the lack of tactical flexibility in tennis despite being widely regarded as one of the best players in the sport. “Before, the points were prepared waiting for the right ball to attack, not all the balls were attacked, the right ball was expected.
Today there are no transition balls or point preparation. Each ball that is hit is with the objective of winning the period.” While reflecting that things have gone well for him, Nadal added that he likes other sports more than tennis because of more tactical options available.
“It has gone well for me, nothing should be changed for me, but emotionally speaking I like another type of sport more, which allows you more options and implement a tactic,” he said.