The 21-time Major winner Rafael Nadal is preparing for his 18th Roland Garros. The season's second Major starts next week, and Rafa is back on the practice court at home in Mallorca, doing his best to recover from a foot injust and stand a chance in Paris.
Nadal has won 13 of the previous 17 Roland Garros titles, experiencing only three losses at his beloved tournament and hoping to regain the title he lost to Novak Djokovic a year ago. Rafa missed the second part of the 2021 season due to a foot injury, experiencing it in the Roland Garros semi-final against Novak and playing two more matches by the end of the season.
Like many times before, Nadal made a perfect comeback and scored 20 wins from the opening 20 encounters in 2022.
Rafael Nadal is back on the court following the latest setback in Rome.
Rafa secured the 21st Major crown at the Australian Open to write history books and remained undefeated until the Indian Wells final.
Struggling with a rib injury, the Spaniard missed six weeks and skipped his favorite tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. The king of clay returned to action in Madrid and Rome, and he failed to deliver his best tennis.
Rafa won two matches in Madrid before losing to a young gun Carlos Alcaraz in three sets in the quarter-final. Hoping for a better run in Rome, Nadal toppled John Isner before experiencing a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 loss to Denis Shapovalov in two hours and 37 minutes.
Rafa barely finished the match without retiring, struggling with foot pain since the middle of the second set and standing no chance in the decider. With dark clouds gathered over his Roland Garros preparations, Nadal hit the practice court on Monday and will travel to Paris on Wednesday alongside his doctor.
Rafa has been the dominant figure in Paris since making a debut at 18 in 2005, winning the title in his first visit and becoming the last teenager with a Major crown. Nadal claimed nine out of ten Roland Garros titles between 2005 and 2014 and became the most successful player at a single Major in history.
After two poor runs in 2015 and 2016, Nadal restored the order and secured four more titles between 2017 and 2020 to extend his tally to 13! Seeking the 14th Parisian Major last June, Rafa lost an epic semi-final to Novak Djokovic in over four hours.