Rafael Nadal saw his 2021 as a very difficult year. The Spanish champion has been unemployed for months and has seen his season close prematurely due to a strong and annoying foot problem; the Spaniard played his last game in the ATP Washington tournament, losing to Harris when he was in poor physical condition.
Rafa had problems since the semi-final at Roland Garros, a tournament that saw him as the main favorite and that saw him succumb in a historic semi-final in the match against world number one, Novak Djokovic. Nadal has played only seven tournaments this season, conditioned by physical problems and that will force him to skip this last part of the season and the ATP Finals in Turin.
Although to a lesser extent than Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal has faced a decline this season as evidenced by his position in the Race. The Spaniard is, in fact, so far ninth in the Race standings and has just been overtaken by the blue player Jannik Sinner.
Unless there are sensational twists, Rafa could even come out of the Top Ten this year, but this is already the worst data regarding his ranking since 2005 until now. Nadal has decided to close his 2022 early, eager to extend his career and fight again for the most important titles that exist: currently the Spaniard shares the record of 20 Slams with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, but before ending his career he aspires to try to overcome your fearsome rivals.
During a recent interview, Nadal said: "I like to compete but I always control myself when I am on the field. I have never given in to my nerves by breaking a racket, I do not like to behave like crazy and my philosophy is never to give up in sports, it's the same when I play golf or soccer with my friends.
When I'm on the court it is important to control my emotions."
Billie Jean King pays tribute to Rafa
In a recent interview with AS, Billie Jean King spoke about a number of topics, including the domination of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and which member of the Big 3 she likes the most.
"They are all three different. I adore Nadal," the 39-time Slam champion told AS. "Ilana (Kloss) and 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.
So we went and we looked at him and we were like, 'Oh my gosh, this guy is so good.' So I love watching him play. What I like the most about him is how much he respects tennis and how he gets angry when other players don't respect him.
That is why children want to be like him more than others when asked and they say that Nadal is their favorite," she added. "In that, he is number one."