Rafael Nadal embraced one of his best seasons at Majors this year despite turning 36 in June. The Spaniard won back-to-back titles at the Australian Open and Roland Garros for the first time in a career. Rafa advanced into the Wimbledon semi-final before withdrawing due to an injury, seeking the season's third Major crown in New York.
Rafa could not fight for the fifth US Open trophy, playing only one match after Wimbledon and struggling to serve at full pace. Nadal fell to Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the fourth round and finished his 2022 journey at Majors with an impressive 22-1 score.
It's Rafa's best score at Majors since 2019, and it came following a nasty foot injury that ruined his second part of the previous season. Nadal played only two matches following the semi-final Roland Garros defeat and did not know what to expect in 2022.
Rested and motivated to return where he belongs, Rafa kicked off the season with a 20-0 score and lifted trophies in Melbourne and Paris to become the first player with 22 Major crowns. Mats Wilander called Nadal's run a miracle after all the setbacks and injuries, performing an incredible comeback at the Australian Open and competing at Roland Garros with injections.
Seeking the third consecutive Major trophy, Nadal experienced an abdominal injury at Wimbledon, serving miles below his best and withdrawing ahead of the semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios.
Rafael Nadal claimed two Major titles in 2022 to top the charts.
As we already said, the Spaniard played only one match before the US Open, and it was not enough to give him a boost.
Struggling with his initial shot, Nadal lost the opening set in the first and second rounds before raising his level for a winning start. Rafa toppled his old rival Richard Gasquet to book a place in the last 16. Still, Frances proved too strong for him at Arthur Ashe Stadium, delivering five breaks and overpowering the 22-time Major champion with 50 winners on his tally.
Nadal claimed the second set and built a 3-1 advantage in the fourth before Tiafoe rattled off five straight games to emerge at the top and advance into the quarter-final. "Rafael Nadal won two Major titles and played the Wimbledon semi-final this year.
If you look at his season and all the setbacks and injuries, it's a miracle. Rafa's US Open loss was not expected, but I think his rivals knew he was not at 100%," Mats Wilander said.