Rafael Nadal sustained a fractured rib during the semifinal of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 against Carlos Alcaraz. The former world number 1 nevertheless managed to beat his young compatriot, presenting himself in precarious conditions in the last act against Taylor Fritz.
Although the Spaniard did his best to win his fourth title in California, it was the American who celebrated his first '1000' of his career. The streak of games won consecutively by Rafa at the beginning of the season was therefore interrupted at 20, which gave him enormous satisfaction.
In addition to winning the Melbourne and Acapulco ATPs, the 35-year-old from Manacor won the Australian Open leaving everyone speechless. The Iberian thus overtook Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings of the Majors.
Due to a fractured rib, the 21-time Grand Slam champion will have to miss the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 for the first time in his career. Speaking to Eurosport, Mats Wilander said Nadal should have stopped after Acapulco.
Nadal became the first person to win 21 Grand Slam titles
“In a perfect world I would have thought that after Rafael Nadal won the tournament in Acapulco, Mexico playing as well as he did, beating Medvedev again in two sets, beating Cameron Norrie in the finals in two sets, I was 100% sure that he was not going to go and play in Indian Wells or Miami,” mentioned Wilander.
“I thought that he would take a month off from tournaments and then go to his normal schedule which is play the clay courts, I think maybe he pushed his body a little bit too much," added the former World No. 1 player.
In the interview, Wilander also hailed Nadal as the GOAT from a statistical standpoint and marveled at what the Spaniard had managed to achieve despite being plagued by injuries. “He’s the best player of all time on paper for the men so I think that maybe what he’s done is actually better than if you play for 18 years in a row and never take a break," said Wilander.
Rafael Nadal became the first person to win 21 Grand Slam titles, moving past his two great rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who have 20 each. His victory marked one of the greatest comebacks in tennis history so far.
His opponent, world no. 2 Daniil Medvedev won the first two sets and was up a break in the third when the Spaniard decided to turn things around. In true Nadal fashion, he fought through each and every point and ended up with the trophy after a grueling five-and-a-half hour long match.