Rafael Nadal has traveled the globe numerous times in the past two decades, seeking notable tennis titles in different parts of the world. Still, he has always felt the best at home in Mallorca, surrounded by his family, friends and beautiful Mediterranean.
Since October, it's even harder for Rafa to travel somewhere and compete as he and his wife became parents for the first time. Speaking about his little son Rafael in Paris, the 22-time Major champion admitted he already misses him a lot.
Nadal will play his first match as a father in the Paris Masters second round, returning to action for the first time since the US Open fourth-round loss. Rafa has been dealing with an abdominal injury since Wimbledon, withdrawing in London ahead of the semi-final and playing only five matches since.
Nadal gave his best at the US Open, but it did not work for him. He struggled to bring his best serve and fell to Frances Tiafoe in four sets. Nadal returned to Mallorca and welcomed his first child with his wife, Xisca, on October 8.
Rafa has been the second-best player in 2022 behind Carlos Alcaraz, winning two Major titles and returning into the top-2.
Rafael Nadal will play his first match in Paris against Tommy Paul.
Nadal went 20-0 at the start of the season before injuring his rib in Indian Wells.
He lost the final to Taylor Fritz and skipped Monte Carlo and Barcelona. The king of clay did not play well in Madrid and Rome after almost two months away from the court. Also, the foot pain was back to bother him ahead of Roland Garros.
Rafa needed injections ahead of every match and survived all the obstacles to secure his 22nd Major. Nadal reached the Wimbledon semi-final but could not fight against Nick Kyrgios. The Spaniard revealed a seven-millimeter tear in his abdomen and left the tournament following an epic quarter-final victory over Taylor Fritz in five sets.
Nadal skipped the Canada Masters and suffered an early Cincinnati loss to Borna Coric. Rafa felt the abdomen pain again in New York and missed a chance to become world no. 1. Nadal played alongside Roger Federer at the Laver Cup and went home the following day, eager to train and recover from an injury.
The Spaniard used the previous weeks to work on his game and get into good shape ahead of Paris and Turin, never winning these tournaments and wishing to change that in the upcoming weeks. "For me, it has always been tough to leave home.
My son is only three weeks old, and it's not easy for me to separate from him; I miss him a lot," Rafael Nadal said.