'Rafael Nadal gets a chance now to regroup', says former ATP ace

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'Rafael Nadal gets a chance now to regroup', says former ATP ace

Two decades after playing his first ATP match at the age of 15, Rafael Nadal is among the most successful tennis players in history. Rafa has been ranked inside the top-10 for 800 consecutive weeks, and has 21 Majors and 36 Masters 1000 crowns under his belt, backed by five year-end finishes as no.1.

Despite the numerous injuries that he has suffered over the years, Rafa has never lost his desire and love for the game, despite having won almost every notable trophy our sport has to offer. Speaking about the brightest and most endearing moments of his incredible career, Rafa recalled some of his most notable triumphs, starting with the one in 2004, when he won the first ATP title in Sopot.

Nadal earned the opportunity to represent Spain in the Davis Cup final in Seville at the end of that season. At 18, he beat Andy Roddick in front of a cheering crowd in a victory that highlighted his career before 2005. Half a year later, Nadal became Major champion just a couple of days after his 19th birthday, beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to reign at Roland Garros on his debut.

The Spaniard dominated another surface and a Major three years later, knocking out Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final after an epic battle and adding a fifth Major crown to his 22-year-old collection. Rafa did not have to wait long for more tennis glory.

He overcame all obstacles at the 2009 Australian Open after battling Fernando Verdasco and Roger Federer for more than ten hours in a couple of days.

Jim Courier on Rafa Nadal

Former World No. 1 Jim Courier has said that Rafael Nadal's loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the Madrid Masters quarterfinals on Friday could be a blessing in disguise for the Spaniard.

"I think, on many levels, this is a good result for Rafa to actually lose this match on a couple of levels, said Courier." "He gets four days off to play at Rome, which is at sea-level, which much more mimics what he'll face at Roland Garros from a conditions standpoint.

And he gets a chance now to regroup, hopefully, kind of reassess where he is, knowing that his rib is no longer a problem. How's his foot? That's a question. I wasn't sure his foot was going to feel good after the 2-hour match today, 3-hour match yesterday.

Rumours that he was hobbling around to his press conference. We know that's going to be a present problem for him, ongoing."