'Rafael Nadal didn't look in too good physical shape against...', says expert

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'Rafael Nadal didn't look in too good physical shape against...', says expert

Casper Ruud expressed all his admiration for Rafael Nadal during the Italian Open 2022. Nadal had a fabulous start to the season, in which he proved for the umpteenth time that he is an absolute legend of modern sport. The Spanish champion won the Australian Open against all odds, taking the victory after coming back from two sets in the final against Daniil Medvedev.

Winning his second career title at Melbourne Park, the former World No. 1 clinched 21 Majors as he overtook Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings. The 35-year-old from Manacor has also become the fourth man in history to have won all the Grand Slams at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson).

The rib fracture repaired during the Indian Wells 1000 complicated Rafa's plans, forcing him to miss the first tournaments on clay (Monte Carlo and Barcelona). The Iberian could not get past the quarterfinals in Madrid and the round of 16 in Rome, also having to deal with a recurrence of the foot problem.

Ruud explained: "Whenever I have the opportunity to train with Rafael Nadal, I try to learn something new. Rafa is a great example both on and off the pitch. He knows how to behave and embodies the correct values. I have gotten to know him a little more in recent years and I have been surprised by his humility.

We are talking about an athlete who has won everything there is to win, but who always plays as if it were the first time. It is not easy to maintain that level of motivation and intensity for so many years." Following the loss to Denis Shapovalov, Nadal expressed some concern: "I am not injured.

I'm a player living with an injury, that's all.

Rafa Nadal won 21 Grand Slams

Tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou has declared that there will be "huge stakes" for Novak Djokovic at the upcoming 2022 French Open. The Frenchman believes that victory at Roland Garros would put the Serb in a strong position to overtake Rafael Nadal in the "GOAT race".

"There will be huge stakes for Djokovic at Roland Garros this year," the Frenchman continued. "He dominated across several Grand Slam tournaments last year, and this will be his first Major in 2022. If he wins, he will tie Rafa in the GOAT race with 21 and be in great position to take the lead.

Four: Rafael Nadal. He's known as the 'King of Clay' and winning this year's Roland Garros would mean taking a two-title lead on Roger [Federer] and Novak in the GOAT race," Mouratoglou added. "But, he didn't have a great claycourt [season] in preparation for the French and didn't look in too good physical shape against Shapovalov in Rome."

Rafael Nadal