With 22 Major titles, over 90 ATP trophies and two Olympic gold medals, Rafael Nadal stands among the most decorated Spanish athletes. Rafa has received numerous national awards in the past 18 years, representing his country and the right values on and off the court.
Nadal has been among the most recognized Spaniard since 2005, always carrying his country's name with honor and pride. The 36-year-old traveled to Madrid on Tuesday and met the Spanish King Filipe VI at Alcala de Henares University.
King Filipe VI presented Rafa with the Camino Real award for everything he has done to make Spain and the United States of America more connected. Some of Nadal's most valuable titles have come in Indian Wells and the US Open, with plenty more good results at the Miami Masters.
Rafa is still competitive at 36 and after numerous setbacks with injuries.
Rafael Nadal received the Camino Real award in Madrid.
The Spaniard played only two matches in the second part of 2021 due to a foot injury and returned stronger at the beginning of 2022.
Nadal made an incredible comeback in the Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev. He trailed 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 before prevailing in five sets after five hours and 24 minutes in the second most extended Major final!
Thus, the Spaniard claimed his first Australian Open crown in 13 years and gained a massive boost. Feeling good in those weeks, Rafa conquered the ATP 500 event in Acapulco over Medvedev and Cameron Norrie, remaining perfect in 2022 and heading to Indian Wells.
Nadal experienced a fractured rib and failed to take a set away from Taylor Fritz in the final, suffering the season's first loss and taking a break to heal the injury. Rafa skipped his favorite tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and felt the pain in his foot again in May.
The Spaniard returned in Madrid and Rome and struggled to play his best tennis, gathering dark clouds over his Roland Garros chances. As many times before, Nadal was a player to beat in Paris, receiving injections ahead of every match to kill the pain and securing the 22nd Major title!
Nadal could not seek the third consecutive Major title in London, withdrawing ahead of the Wimbledon semi-final due to an abdominal injury. Rafa skipped Montreal and suffered an early loss in Cincinnati to Borna Coric. With no form or matches, the Spaniard hit the exit door in the US Open fourth-round loss to Frances Tiafoe, losing many points and a chance to become world no. 1 at 36. Rafa should compete at this weekend's Laver Cup, Roger Federer's last tournament in his career.