The first part of the season gave Rafael Nadal a lot of joys. The Spanish champion has conquered the Australian Open and Roland Garros, reaffirming that he is a living legend and removing the specter of retirement. The former world number 1 was unable to keep the dream called 'Calendar Grand Slam' alive, having had to retire from Wimbledon before the semi-final.
A tear in the abs prevented him from taking the field against Nick Kyrgios, but this does not detract from his resounding 2022. The 36-year-old from Manacor has hoisted himself at 22 Slam, +1 over Novak Djokovic and +2 over Roger Federer in the all-time ranking.
The Iberian will try to stretch further at the US Open, given that it is unlikely that Nole will be able to fly to the US at the end of August (not being vaccinated against the Coronavirus). Rafa, for his part, will participate in the Masters 1000 in Montreal next week.
Speaking to the Tennis Channel, Paul Annacone - former coach of Pete Sampras and Roger Federer - analyzed the evolution of Nadal.
Annacone opens up on Nadal
"And most importantly, Rafael Nadal is so confident," Annacone said.
"Looking at those numbers: 25 times a titlist on hardcourts. It gets tiring to talk to people because they say - 'he is one-dimensional, he was just so dominant on the clay.' This guy can play on everything."
Along with playing in tournaments, Nadal also had to manage his studies. The 22-time Grand Slam champion has given an account of how he managed to do all these activities simultaneously. In his autobiography, ‘Rafa: My Story’, the former World Number 1 has described how he managed his studies along with playing tennis.
He said, “My mother put her energy and encouragement into the areas where I was less strong, such as my school studies. It was on this account that my parents, having shielded me from Barcelona, decided when I turned fifteen that I should do as my father, and Toni, had done and go to a boarding school in Palma”.
Further, he added, “Called the Balearic Sports School, it was tailored to my needs-regular school lessons but plenty of tennis built in-and it was only an hour’s drive from home. But I was miserable there. My parents-my mother in particular-were concerned that all this tennis was killing my studies.
My concern was that the studies were going to kill my tennis. They killed my chances of playing at the Wimbledon Junior Tournament and the one at Roland Garros, too”.