Rafael Nadal won the 'Melbourne Summer Set' earlier this year, before breaking the bank at the Australian Open. The Spanish phenomenon has put his 21st Major on the bulletin board, taking away the satisfaction of recovering two sets behind Daniil Medvedev in the final.
The former world number 1 has thus surpassed Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time Grand Slam standings. Rafa also became the fourth man in history to have conquered all majors at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson).
As if that weren't enough, the 35-year-old from Manacor also won in the prestigious Acapulco tournament. Unfortunately, Nadal sustained a stress fracture in his rib during the Indian Wells semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz.
The Iberian surrendered to Taylor Fritz in the final before exams revealed the extent of his injury. The 21-time Grand Slam champion, who had to skip Monte Carlo and Barcelona, is hoping to return to Madrid. Speaking to Eurosport, Boris Becker said Nadal may have lost his aura of invincibility.
Becker comments on Nadal
"Rafael Nadal was actually considered invincible until he injured himself in the semi-final against Alcaraz, who played for over three hours," Becker said. The German believes Nadal's ribs have an underlying issue, claiming that he himself suffered a similar problem during his playing days.
"Something must be wrong with his rib," Becker said. "I had that once too. It hurts a lot and it takes a long time until you can play properly again because you need it to breathe. And especially now for the clay court season, this is of course a big setback for him.
Until the injury, he was considered the favorite for Roland Garros and now he has to get healthy again and play his first matches on clay," Becker said. "And it is not yet clear when he will start again." Nadal gave a blistering 20-0 start to the year.
He conquered three consecutive tournaments, namely Melbourne Summer, The Australian Open, and the Mexican Open. By winning the Australian Open, Rafa broke the three-way tie of 20 Grand Slams between him, Djokovic and Federer.
Following that, he made a run till the finals of Indian wells and suffered his first loss of the year against Taylor Fritz, the American tennis professional. That being said, Nadal is holding the ranking of world no.4 and he can only move upwards as he has already scored 3350 ranking points, which is enough to keep him afloat. In addition, his current form will allow no one, to take him down easily.