Rafael Nadal has recently announced that he will miss the US Open scheduled in just over a week and that he will return only in 2022. An important news but not entirely unexpected, given that the Spaniard had admitted that he still felt pain in his foot and had given up to both American Masters 1000.
His parenthesis on hardcourt goes on file with just two matches played, those against Jack Sock and Lloyd Harris in Washington. This year the Majorcan has played very few tournaments, also thanks to a back injury at the beginning of the season.
Despite all the difficulties listed, Rafa was able to lift two trophies (Barcelona and Rome), nullifying match points along the way in both cases. His big goal was of course Roland Garros, where he hoped to showcase his 21st Major by beating his eternal rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
It was Nole in the semifinals that blocked his way. Speaking in the latest edition of the podcast hosted by Eric Han, Toni Nadal - who coached his grandson until 2017 - explained how the arrival of Carlos Moya helped Rafael improve his game.
Uncle Toni speaks about Rafael Nadal
Toni shares a personal relationship with Rafael Nadal, hence the split in 2017 was not easy. However, with Nadal’s increasing age, he needed a new direction and a new plan. Carlos Moya and Francisco Roig came in just for that and turned it around for El Nino.
With his age, he had to decrease the running part and play smarter tennis. “I remember the last meeting that we had, Rafael and me, to prepare for the next season into, at the end of 2016. I remember when I said to him in Mallorca, it was him and me alone and I said ‘Rafael you have to, you cannot run like before, you have to be more aggressive, you have to go more to the net.
And of course you need to improve the serve because at your age you need to improve the serve’,” said Toni. “I think when Carlos arrived, I think he gave confidence to make this, to make the serve faster and that was important,” said Toni.
Nadal seemingly aggravated his foot problem during his semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier this year. The Spaniard recently claimed he could not set foot on the court for 20 days after his loss to the Serb as he needed to rest his body.
Nadal then pulled out of Wimbledon as well as the Tokyo Olympics. The 20-time Major champion returned to action at the Citi Open in Washington, but he was visibly bothered by foot issues during his matches against Jack Sock and Lloyd Harris.