Rafael Nadal had to deal with a series of physical problems in 2021. His back limited him in the first part of the season, preventing him from showing up in the best conditions at the Australian Open. The Spanish champion is back on the pitch on his beloved clay, where he has collected a couple of titles (Barcelona and Rome), but he has given the feeling that he is no longer the unbeatable player he used to be.
His run at the Roland Garros 2021 was interrupted in the semifinals by Novak Djokovic, also thanks to a painful foot discomfort that affected his performance. After missing both Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, the former world number 1 returned to the hard courts in Washington with high expectations.
However, a couple of matches were enough for him to understand that the problem was not solved. A few days later, the 35-year-old from Manacor announced his decision to remain in the pits until 2022. In a recent interview with Number Web, the 20-time Grand Slam champion spoke at length about his eternal rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Nadal praises Federer and Djokovic
Rafa started talking about Nole. He said "Novak Djokovic is an absolutely perfect tennis player, I can't identify any weak points in his game. He has the ability to express himself at the highest levels on concrete, clay- courts and grass-courts.
This year was even more incredible than usual. Even in the days when things weren't going well, he always came out as a great champion." The discussion then moved on to Roger Federer. About his friend-rival, Nadal expressed: "Roger is also an example of a perfect tennis player.
The modernity and elegance of his playing style will never cease to amaze me. For his opponents it is very difficult to understand which shot he will play, given that he can take stock in many different ways." The 40-year-old from Basel, who played just 13 official matches in 2021, dropped out of the Top 10 for the first time since 2017.
He should finish the year around ATP number 18. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer could come back on the court for the upcoming Australian season, which it will start at the beginning of 2022.