Rafael Nadal's season ended abruptly on August 6, when Lloyd Harris triumphed by two sets to one in the round of 16 match of the ATP 500 in Whashington. Already the previous match with Jack Sock, won with an unusual effort, had launched the first signs on the health of the Majorcan, who has not set foot on the pitch since that appointment.
He will do it again in mid-December at the friendly tournament in Abu Dhabi. An annoying left foot injury is what prompted him to give up many appointments - on all the US Open and the ATP Finals - a problem that had been dragging on for an abundant year.
The capital of the United States was the last test, then the decision: better care and hope to return strong in 2022. Rafa Nadal's number 1 goal is clearly to play the Australian Open (17-30 January 2022), but to do so he will want and must be sure that he is 100% in his condition.
A 'competition animal' like him, who has as many as 20 Slam on the showcase, would never accept the idea of taking the field being his own double. This is why the Spaniard combines the desire to return with a good dose of prudence, as it is logical that those who have learned to know their body and above all know that they no longer have the physical integrity of the past: "Until everything is clear 100%, I can't say too much," said Nadal.
"It's just that I don't even know yet. Everything is analyzed as the weeks go by. My idea is to come back as soon as possible, but to come back well."
Alcaraz speaks about Nadal
18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz has been one of the most improved players of the 2021 season and the Spaniard has sparked comparisons to his idol and compatriot Rafael Nadal.
"I met Rafael Nadal for the first time at an award ceremony on the Rafa Nadal Tour (junior tennis circuit)," Alcaraz said. "At that time I hardly dared to exchange a word with him. However, during our first real conversation I noticed what a great guy he is."
Alcaraz added that after interacting with Rafael Nadal, he has realized that his idol is a great person, and what defines him is his humility and approachability. "If you didn't know who Rafa is and what he has achieved, you could mistake him for a perfectly normal guy. This is what defines him: so approachable, humble and happy," he said.