21-time Major winner Rafael Nadal prepares for his 18th Roland Garros. The second Grand Slam of the season kicks off next week, and Rafa is back on the practice court at his home in Mallorca, doing his best to recover from the injured foot and give himself a chance in Paris.
Nadal has won 13 of the previous 17 Roland Garros titles, experiencing just three defeats 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 at the end of the season.
Like so many times before, Nadal made a perfect comeback and scored 20 wins in the first 20 meetings of 2022. Rafa secured his 21st Australian Open crown to make history and remained undefeated until the Indian Wells final.
Suffering from 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 could not offer the best tennis of his.
Rafa won two matches in Madrid before losing in three sets in the quarterfinals to the young Carlos Alcaraz. Hoping for a better run in Rome, Nadal dropped John Isner before suffering 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 a sore foot from the middle of the second set and no chance in the decider. With the clouds hanging over his preparations for Roland Garros, Nadal took to the training ground on Monday and will travel to Paris on Wednesday with his doctor.
Rafa has been the dominant figure in Paris since he debuted as an 18-year-old in 2005, winning the title on his first visit and becoming the last teenager to win a Major crown.
Rafa Nadal will play the French Open
Rafael Nadal is one of the biggest athletes on the planet, and yet, not much is known about his private life.
During the interview, Rafael Nadal was asked a question that every professional athlete has encountered at some point: What would he have become if he wasn't a tennis player? "I don't know, I have always loved sports. If I weren't a tennis player, I would say [I would have been] something related to that," he said.