Former German tennis player Mischa Zverev acknowledged that Rafael Nadal is way too often dealing with setbacks and he thinks one great career is slowly coming to an end. Nadal missed almost the entire second half of the 2021 season, before returning in January and winning a record 21st Grand Slam.
A rib stress fracture kept Nadal out of the beginning of the clay season, and when he returned, he started experiencing problems with his foot again. There is a big question mark regarding Nadal's fitness ahead of the French Open and Zverev says it would be "sad" if the Spaniard looked far away from his usual self in Paris.
"You can be positive and have strength and energy in your head. But now first the ribs, then the foot - and then sometimes he's also tired or at least looks tired on the pitch. There are just too many problems that come up too often.
It's like a car that has a trouble every few kilometres. I have such a mixed feeling about Rafa this year. Either he will charm us as always with his clay court tennis in Paris or we will see a Rafa this year who is really a bit more tired than usual.
And that would be a sad thing," Zverev said on Eurosport Germany's tennis podcast Das Gelbe vom Ball.
Zverev on Dominic Thiem's return
2020 US Open champion Thiem was out for 10 months before kicking off his 2022 season in late March.
Thiem has had a rough comeback so far as he is 0-6 in 2022. Nadal and Roger Federer enjoyed successful comebacks after missing siginificant time and Zverev expects Thiem to play better at the French Open than he did in recent weeks.
“Rafa and Roger managed to come back after an injury break and win a Grand Slam. But that is incredible. With Dominic, it's the more human way. After such an injury, you just need more time to come back. That's why I think he will be able to play better in Paris and win matches, but he just needs a few more weeks," Zverev said.