A data shows how Rafael Nadal's career was limited by injuries

Nadal is one of the three most successful tennis players in the history of tennis, but a sensational fact underlines how the Spaniard could have won much more

by Lorenzo Ciotti
A data shows how Rafael Nadal's career was limited by injuries
© Chris Hyde / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic is the man of records, the tennis player who shattered every record and rewrote the history of tennis. He, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were able to take the Game to an impossible and unthinkable level. Obtaining something unique, which is unlikely to be replicated in the future.

they have been racing for years trying to outdo each other. The numbers say that Djokovic is the GOAT, but the impact of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal was fundamental, also for the growth of Djokovic himself.

Nadal© Chris Hyde / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Media, insiders and fans have been trying for years to establish that among the Big 3 he is the greatest of all time, but there is a data regarding Rafael Nadal that underlines how much more the Spaniard could have achieved.

Nadal returned to the court at the 2024 Brisbane International, reaching the quarterfinals, where he was eliminated in three sets and after three hours by Jordan Thompson. Rafa's defeat also came due to a new injury (yet another in his career), which affected the area between the groin and hip.

As a precaution, as announced a few hours ago as we at Tennis World USA reported to you, Nadal has decided to skip the 2024 Australian Open, in order not to put too much strain on his body and preserve it for his real targets, starting with the clay-swing.

Rafael Nadal© Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde

As reported by José Moron in a post on X, with his withdrawal from the Australian Open, Nadal will have missed 16 Slam tournaments in his entire career due to injury.

Rafa won 1 Slam out of 3 played (32.3%): this suggests that Rafa could theoretically have won another 5 Majors, bringing himself (again in theory) to 27 Slams. From these data we understand how injuries have decisively slowed down Nadal's glorious career.

Rafael Nadal will miss the Australian Open 2024

"Hi all, during my last match in Brisbane I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried.

Once I got to Melbourne I have had the chance to make an MRI and I have micro tear on a muscle, not in the same part where I had the injury and that’s good news. Right now I am not ready to compete at the maximum level of exigence in 5 sets matches.

Therefore I m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest. I have worked very hard during the year for this comeback and as I always mentioned my goal is to be at my best level in 3 months. Within the sad news for me for not being able to play in front of the amazing Melbourne crowds, this is not very bad news and we all remain positive with the evolution for the season.

I really wanted to play here in Australia and I have had the chance to play a few matches that made me very happy and positive. Thanks all for the support and see you soon! Rafa."

Rafael Nadal© Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde

With these words, the Spaniard announced his official withdrawal from the 2024 Australian Open through X and Instagram.

Nadal's decision followed the injury suffered against Jordan Thompson in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International. The injury suffered by the Spaniard immediately alarmed his fans, who hoped to be able to enjoy his tennis in Melbourne too.

The injury, at the moment, does not seem particularly serious, which suggests that Nadal should be healthy for the start of the clay-swing. However, his decision to skip the Happy Slam seemed quite wise. Rafa will preserve his body in view of the part of the season where he will be more competitive and where he will reach his peak physical form.

It therefore seems clear that his decision to avoid a tournament played on Fortnight and the best of three sets has the aim of avoiding even more serious injuries. Rafa showed excellent tennis and excellent physical form in the first matches in Brisbane, but he had been out of action for a year, so muscle injuries of this kind were foreseen by his team.

After the match against Thompson, Rafa said: "Last year it was the tendon and this one feels more like a tired muscle.

The only problem is that it's in a similar area and that makes you a little more worried than normal. The best thing that can happen is that the muscles are very full after the effort of these three days. It would be ideal, but today we cannot know.

If it was just tiredness, it would be a normal process. I didn't come here to win tournaments, I came to try to come back in the most positive way. I hope that the feeling in my leg will be better until Sunday. I have to see how I wake up tomorrow.

In recent days, when I have spoken, I have always done so with caution because I know that after a year it is difficult for the body to be able to compete in top-level tournaments. You never know how he will react. That's why I have to accept things as they come.

I hope it's nothing serious and I can have the chance to train next week in Melbourne. The truth is, I'm not 100% sure about anything right now. It's in a similar area to last year, but different. I feel it more on a muscular level."

Rafael Nadal