'I'm glad I didn't find Rafael Nadal in my...', says former ATP star

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'I'm glad I didn't find Rafael Nadal in my...', says former ATP star

Rafael Nadal has been limited by physical problems this season. The former world number 1 has in fact played just seven official tournaments in 2021, still managing to put a couple of trophies on his beloved clay court. The Spanish champion was aiming to win Roland Garros for the 14th time in his career, but his dream was shattered against Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

During the Paris campaign, the pain in his foot intensified and Rafa was unable to play his cards fully. The 20-time Grand Slam champion was forced to miss Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open, deciding to end his year well in advance.

The 35-year-old from Manacor has resumed training for a few weeks and will make his return to the prestigious Abu Dhabi exhibition in mid-December. The one in the Arab Emirates will be a good test for the Majorcan ahead of the Australian Open 2022.

In a recent interview with the 'Punto de Break' portal, Spanish Cup captain Davis Sergi Bruguera crowned Nadal as the best Iberian tennis player of all times.

Bruguera opens up on Nadal

"I imagine that sometime I would have beaten him (Rafael Nadal), but I am convinced that he would almost always beat me," Bruguera told Punto De Break.

"My obsession was always winning Roland Garros and I was lucky to win it twice, also beating very strong players along the way like Courier or Medvedev. Rafael Nadal is the best clay court player in history, a long way from the next one, so on that side I'm glad I didn't find him in my time," he added.

Bruguera said that Nadal is indisputably the best men's Spanish tennis player ever, and that he would put himself in the top 5. "I would put myself top 5 for sure, although there have been a lot," he said. "Rafa is the undisputed number 1, then Santana would come, then there are spectacular players like Orantes, Gimeno, Moyá and Ferrero."

As the 2021 season is about to end, the focus has shifted towards the upcoming year. It opens with the Australian Open, and players will be involved in certain events prior to the first Grand Slam event of the season. This includes the ATP Cup which has become a prominent event in which top players represent their nations.

Tennis Australia has decided to conduct a shorter version of the ATP Cup at two venues in Sydney again. This year, the event was held in Melbourne. In the inaugural edition, the matches took place in Brisbane, Perth, and Sydney.

The finals would take place in the capital of New South Wales i.e. Sydney. The prize money back then was $22 million.