Rafael Nadal encountered great difficulties in 2021, also due to a series of physical problems. His back prevented him from being at the top in the early part of the season, while his foot limited him from Roland Garros onwards.
The Spanish champion had the French Open as his great goal, hoping to put his 14th title on the board and to hoist himself to 21 Majors. Not in the best of condition, the 35-year-old from Manacor had to surrender to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
The former world number 1 has given up on both Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, hoping to get back competitive on North American hard courts. After playing a couple of matches in Washington, the Majorcan realized his foot needed more time to heal.
From there came the decision to close his 2021 prematurely. In the course of a recent interview, Rafa said he was concerned about the direction modern tennis is taking. From his point of view, technological innovations and the increase in power have reduced the spectacle of the game.
In a conversation on Eurosport Germany, Boris Becker commented on Nadal's statements.
Becker on Rafael Nadal
"When Rafael Nadal talks about tennis, we first have to shut up and listen. There isn't much better than Nadal when it comes to tennis.
But I already see variety for the future - be it Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Zverev, Sinner or Alcaraz. They are all different players, so I can't quite understand why he's worried. I don't think tennis is in a tragic situation, I like new generation" - Boris Becker said.
Boris Becker believes Novak Djokovic is well within his rights to remain tight-lipped about his vaccination status, as it is private information. However, Becker suggested that it is in Djokovic's best interests to get vaccinated should he wish to take part in the 2022 Australian Open.
“I can understand it [Djokovic's reluctance to disclose his vaccination status] at first," Boris Becker said. "That is his right, that is privacy, that has to be protected. But if he wants to work as a tennis player, then unfortunately they are rules and for all tennis players who want to go to Australia: The State of Victoria requires proof of vaccination," Becker added.
"It is completely unimportant what we mean," continued Becker. "If the Australian government has decided that way, there is only one solution." Rafael Nadal is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
But recently the Spaniard showed his humble and kind side, as he fulfilled the dream of an old man. Nadal met a 97-year old man who dreamt of meeting the former World No.1.