Hardly anyone imagined that Rafael Nadal would win three titles in a row at the start of the season. In addition to having triumphed in Melbourne and Acapulco, the Spanish champion also won at the Australian Open for the second time in his career.
The former world number 1 wrote one of the most beautiful pages of the modern era, putting together two sets of Daniil Medvedev in the final. Thanks to this success, the Majorcan has overtaken Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to reach 21 Majors.
Rafa also became the fourth man in history to have won all Grand Slams at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson). The 35-year-old from Manacor will try to reach 22 already at Roland Garros, waiting to understand if Nole will be present in Paris or not.
Many believe that Nadal can finish the year at the top of the ATP rankings, having very few points to defend in the second half of the season. Speaking to the Tennis Channel, Paul Annacone said fine words for the 21-time Grand Slam champion.
Paul Annacone praises Rafa Nadal
"That's what's amazed me, you look at the elation on his face after a tournament like this, which is a great tournament but it's not Wimbledon, it's not the US Open," Paul Annacone said.
"Rafael Nadal's won in 7,000 tournaments already but to go to Acapulco and see the joy and the sheer fun that he still has competing and playing tennis. To me that's what drives him and that's why he's so spectacular."
During a recent conversation on Tennis Channel, two-time Slam champion Tracy Austin was asked if she considers Nadal the best player in the world despite Medvedev having recently clinched the No. 1 position. "Wow, that's a great question because Rafa's been selective about how many tournaments he's playing because of that left foot injury; he did not play for the last five months of 2021," Tracy Austin said.
"So he's not playing as many tournaments and also remember Novak Djokovic didn't get to play the Australian so that helped Medvedev become World No. 1. I think for this year, can I sit on the fence there? For this year it's obviously Rafa Nadal.
He even said he's been very emotional when he gives the interviews afterward because 'a month and a half ago no one on my team (and) I wouldn't have believed this' because the pain was hurting him so much," she continued.
"Now at 35 that's absurd, at 35 years old, to go in 15-0, best season start of his career ever, is absolutely amazing. How do you even stay motivated for that span of 17 years?"