Rafael Nadal ended his 2021 prematurely with a chronic foot injury, which limited him to just seven official tournaments and knocked him out of Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open. After undergoing a little treatment, the Spanish phenomenon has resumed training and he will be back on the pitch at the Abu Dhabi show next month.
The former world number 1 is hoping to recover 100% form in time for the Australian Open 2022, where he will go on the hunt for his 21st career Grand Slam. The Majorcan triumphed only once in Melbourne, way back in 2009. The 35-year-old Iberian reached four more Down Under finals, but was forced to surrender in 2012 (against Djokovic), 2014 (against Wawrinka), 2017 (against Federer) and in 2019 (again against Djokovic).
Rafa's presence in Australia implies that the Manacor veteran has already been vaccinated, as it is unlikely that anyone who has not received the double dose will be granted entry into the country. In this regard, Novak Djokovic's participation in the first major of the season is in strong doubt.
During a recent interview with 'Padel Magazine', he was asked the 20-time Grand Slam champion if he has ever played paddle.
Nadal speaks about paddle
"To be honest, in padel I am neither good nor bad," Rafael Nadal told Padel Magazine.
Rafael Nadal is no stranger to venturing out of tennis and trying his hand at other sports; the 35-year-old is an amateur golfer who has played in several official tournaments. Against that background, Nadal claimed that if he can take up golf, he can also get into Padel some day.
"I don't know what the future will be like," Nadal said. "I will continue with my tennis career. I like sport in general. I play golf. I think I'll grab a padel racket, why not? I am sure that in the future I will have more time to enjoy other sports.
Padel is growing and I think it will be fun because it's easier to play." Legendary American tennis player Billie Jean King, who dominated women’s tennis for close to two decades, won a mammoth 39 major titles(12 singles, 16 doubles, and 11 mixed doubles) and is considered one of the greatest players ever to step out on a tennis court.
“They are all three different. I adore Nadal. I met him when he must have been 14 or 15 years old, in South Africa. I don’t think he remembers, but we do, because they said he was the child with the greatest potential. We looked at him and we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this guy is so good'”.