'What Rafael Nadal is doing is super smart', says ATP ace

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'What Rafael Nadal is doing is super smart', says ATP ace

Rafael Nadal’s start to the season was nothing short of exceptional. The former world number 1 had just returned from a long stop due to injury, which had limited him to only seven official tournaments in 2021. Arriving in Australia amidst a thousand uncertainties, the Spanish phenomenon won the Melbourne ATP 500 and acquired the confidence needed to accomplish one of the greatest feats of his entire career.

The 35-year-old from Manacor has won the Australian Open for the second time, a tournament that has often been hostile to him in the past. After surviving two authentic battles against Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini, Rafa rallied Daniil Medvedev two sets in the final.

Just when the Russian seemed to be one step away from the finish line, the Iberian found the energy to reverse the inertia of the match. By capturing his 21st major, Nadal overtook Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings.

The Majorcan also became the fourth man in history to have pocketed all the Slams at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson). As if that weren't enough, Rafael also imposed himself on Acapulco's concrete.

His streak of consecutive victories came to a halt against Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final, also due to a fractured rib.

Monfils praises Rafa Nadal

“I said to myself with my agent that what Rafael Nadal is doing is super smart.

Maybe you have to play only one because there, the tour was long, you always have to keep up, it's starting to be a little hard all the same. I hope to be physically fit next year and play both but I will keep in mind this idea of doing only one of the two in 2023 and building a different calendar,” confessed to L'Equipe the Monf', who discovers the need to manage his calendar at 35 years old.

It's never too late! Sadly, Nadal, who was having an incredible season so far in 2022, suffered another setback. He suffered a stress fracture in one of his ribs at the Indian Wells Masters. Although he had already decided to skip the Miami Open, the new injury will hamper his preparations for the French Open.

In all likeliness, Nadal is now out for at least a month. He will miss Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open where he is an 11-time and 12-time champion respectively. Depending on his recovery, he might have an outside chance of making a comeback at Madrid Masters in early May.