Rafael Nadal will finish the season ranked 2nd, winning two Major titles this year and writing history books. At 36, Nadal is the oldest year-end top-2 player, passing Roger Federer and hoping for more in the upcoming years.
Nadal has been among the world's best players since 2005, cracking the top-10 in April that year and staying there ever since! Nadal became the world's second-best player in 2005. The Spaniard secured his first Major crown a few days after his 19th birthday and added four Masters 1000 titles to his name to finish the season behind Roger Federer.
Rafa wrapped up the year with 11 trophies by his name, and the sky was the limit for an incredible youngster with an iron will. Still, Nadal would have never thought about achieving all this back then, saying it would be dreamy and arrogant.
Instead, Rafa has been working on his game since he started playing tennis, adding new elements to his arsenal and extending his career despite numerous setbacks and injuries. Nadal skipped the second part of the 2021 season due to a severe foot injury, playing only two matches after Roland Garros and preparing for a fresh start in 2022.
As we all know, Rafa turned the tables and kicked off the season with a perfect 20-0 score. The Spaniard claimed three back-to-back titles, including his first Australian Open crown since 2009. Rafa fractured his rib in Indian Wells and skipped Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
Rafael Nadal spoke about everything he has achieved in the last 17 years.
He returned in Madrid and Rome and did not play at his best, with more foot issues waiting around the corner. Needing injections ahead of every match, Nadal extended his dominance at Roland Garros and claimed the 14th Parisian trophy to stand on 22 Major crowns.
It was the last bright moment of Rafa's season, injuring his abdominal muscle at Wimbledon and withdrawing ahead of the semi-final. The Spaniard played only nine more matches by the end of the season, scoring four wins and experiencing four straight defeats for the first time since 2009.
Nadal is ready for more challenges in 2023, kicking off the new season at the United Cup in Australia at the end of December. "If you think about achieving all this at 18, you are super arrogant or dreamy; I'm neither. I'm one of those who breathe the sport daily, trying to build a future from everyday work.
One has to live in the present with the best attitude and a good education; each small advance makes you opt for bigger things. At this point in my career, being where I'm is a gift, but I continue to live this race with the same passion and enthusiasm," Rafael Nadal said.