Rafa Nadal has had a great season, winning two Major titles and moving in front of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Still, as many times before, the Spaniard has been dealing with injuries and setbacks from the start of the year.
After concerns about his foot, Rafa fractured a rib in Indian Wells and ruined his clay season. Nadal needed injections in his troubled foot to stay competitive at Roland Garros, winning the 22nd Major crown and hoping for more at Wimbledon.
The Spaniard could not fight for the All England Club trophy following an abdominal injury. It prevented him from practicing his serve, leaving London ahead of the semi-final duel with Nick Kyrgios with a seven-millimeter tear!
Rafa went home to Mallorca and returned to the practice court. He skipped Montreal and decided to test his body in Cincinnati. Nadal lost to Borna Coric in the second round and gathered dark clouds over his US Open chances. The Spaniard beat three rivals in New York to enter the last 16 and keep his chances of becoming world no.
1 alive. Instead, Nadal experienced a fourth-round loss to Frances Tiafoe and allowed Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud to pass him on the ATP ranking list. Rafa had to deal with the family drama outside the tennis court, as his wife had to stay in hospital for a couple of days.
Rafa and Xisca are expecting their first child in the following weeks, and he wants to spend time with his wife at home. Still, the 22-time Major winner had to make a short trip to London and join Roger Federer at the Laver Cup.
Two legends shared the court on Friday night, as Roger retired from tennis after 25 glorious years.
Rafael Nadal will stay at home with his wife for a couple of weeks.
Federer and Nadal played the final encounter of an opening day against Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
Two legends wasted a match point in a 4-6, 6-2, 11-9 loss in two hours and 13 minutes. Rafa struggled in his games more than the other players, with clear signs of ongoing abdominal injury. He faced a break point at 4-4 in the opener, and Roger saved it before they broke Frances in the next one for 6-4.
The Spaniard lost serve at 1-1 in the second set, and he and Roger pulled it back after Frances' double fault in game six. Rafa was in trouble again at 5-5 after facing no less than six break points. Team Europe saved them before losing the tie break 7-2.
Nadal took charge at the start of the match tie break and grabbed the opening three points. The Americans fought back and moved 4-3 in front to boost their chances. The legends fought back to 8-8 and earned a match point. The Swiss failed to convert it on his serve, and Frances fired a return winner for 10-9.
Sock landed a forehand down the line winner to send his team over the top and end Roger's career on an emotional night. "I'm not okay, and I have had a couple of challenging weeks. It was stressful, and I could not sleep for more than a few hours.
I had to deal with a complicated situation at home, and it's a different pressure from what you feel on the court. Luckily, everything is fine now, and we are much calmer. That's why I could travel to London, which was very important for me," Rafael Nadal said.