Rafael Nadal has written yet another page of history in these first two months of 2022. The Spanish phenomenon, recovering from a long stop due to injury, won the Australian Open leaving everyone speechless. The former world number 1 made a memorable ride 'Down Under', recovering two sets of Daniil Medvedev in the final.
Thanks to his second triumph in Melbourne, the 35-year-old Spaniard has overtaken Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time Grand Slam standings. The Majorcan also became the fourth man in history to have conquered all the majors at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson).
As if that weren't enough, the legend of Manacor also made its mark in the Melbourne ATP 250 and Acapulco hard courts. The number 4 ATP will be involved in the Indian Wells Masters 1000, a tournament that crowned him on three occasions (the last, however, dates back to 2013).
Speaking to Eurosport, Mats Wilander admitted that he would never have expected such a start to the season from Rafa.
Wilander opens up on Nadal
"Rafael Nadal's turning 36 during the French Open. He is closer to 16 years old than 36 years old, emotionally," Wilander said.
"That is where he separates himself from the other Big-3, I should say." The seven-time Grand Slam champion admitted that he would not have been as surprised if Rafael Nadal had produced the same results during the clay season, where he is the undisputed "king."
"It would be amazing if he could keep this up [after] we really thought last year that it was surely close to being the end of Rafa's career. He himself thought it could be the end of his career," Wilander said.
"I would have never imagined, even though [I expected him to be] playing physically, in a million years that he would be doing what he is doing now. Not during this part of the year. Yes, [if we] move forwards a month and a half, when the claycourt season has started, then we are back to Rafael Nadal, the ageless clay court king," he added.
21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal had an outstanding start in 2022. Currently, the Spanish is on a 15 match winning streak and is yet to lose a single match this year. Already, Rafa had three titles to his name in 2022, including the Australian Open title.
It’s also a fact that Rafa is also one of the most recognizable tennis stars in the world, along with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and others. Many young players look up to the Spanish star as their idol.