2021 was certainly not the best year of his career for Rafael Nadal. The Spanish phenomenon has long been plagued by injuries, first to the back and then to the foot. The former world number 1 was able to play the misery of seven official tournaments this season, putting two titles on the board respectively in Barcelona and at the Foro Italico in Rome.
The great goal of the 35-year-old Majorcan was obviously Roland Garros, where he hoped to seize his 14th seal to hoist himself to 21 Majors. The journey of the 20-time Grand Slam champion was interrupted in the semifinals by Novak Djokovic, who was then able to win the tournament by recovering Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.
Foot pain forced Rafa to miss both Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics in hopes of returning to 100% for the hard court season. Nadal made his return to Washington, but his first experience in the US capital lasted just a couple of meetings.
After being eliminated by Lloyd Harris and giving up the American Masters 1000, the Manacor veteran decided to close his 2021 prematurely. Recently, the Iberian wanted to update his fans by announcing that he had undergone a foot treatment.
In a long interview granted to 'AS', former Olympic silver medalist Jordi Arrese reflected on the current conditions of his illustrious compatriot.
Arrese talks about Rafael Nadal
The 57-year-old stated, “Achieving what Rafael Nadal has achieved is practically impossible.
We will see if someone surpasses it”. He continued, “If Rafa recovers, he still has two or three very good years left because he has too good a level and is a mental predator,” stressed the Spaniard. Speaking at an event marking the renewal of the Mutua Madrid Open until 2030, tournament director Feliciano Lopez expressed hope that Rafael Nadal recovers in time to compete at the Madrid Masters next year.
"We hope to see Rafael Nadal in the next edition," Lopez said. "He is still young and has shown that he can overcome injuries. He will be welcome because he is the most beloved player in the tournament." Lopez went on to mention Roger Federer, who also ended his 2021 season due to knee injury.
"I hope Federer also recovers because that will mean that we have all the best available for the tournament," Lopez added. Rafael Nadal is easily the greatest claycourt player in the history of tennis. He has won the French Open a record 13 times, and has amassed 27 Masters 1000 titles on the surface. But the Masters event in his home country - the Madrid Open - has historically been his weakest.