After injuries and setbacks, Rafael Nadal is still a happy camper at the end of 2022. The Spanish legend claimed two Major crowns this year, passing Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and standing alone at the 22 most notable tennis trophies.
Also, Rafa is the oldest year-end top-2 player since the start of the ATP ranking in 1973, taking that record from Roger Federer. While knowing he can not go on for ten more years, Nadal is eager to play at his best for a few more seasons and extend his already incredible legacy.
Rafa had a season to forget last year, struggling with a foot injury and playing only two matches following the Roland Garros loss to Novak Djokovic. Not knowing what to expect, Nadal headed to Australia this January, eager to check where he stood and hoping to play as many matches as possible.
As many times before, the Spaniard stopped the clock and made his career-best season start after winning the opening 20 encounters! Nadal claimed three back-to-back titles, including his first Australian Open crown since 2009 following an epic victory over Daniil Medvedev.
Rafa fractured his rib in Indian Wells and lost the final to Taylor Fritz in straight sets. The king of clay skipped Monte Carlo and Barcelona and lost momentum.
Rafael Nadal is ready for another good run in 2023.
He returned in Madrid and Rome and played miles below his best, with more foot issues ahead of his beloved Major.
Needing injections ahead of every match in Paris, Nadal extended his Roland Garros dominance and claimed the 14th trophy from 18 trips to the French capital! It was the last bright moment of Rafa's season, which was hard to believe at that point.
The Spaniard injured his abdominal muscle at Wimbledon and withdrew ahead of the semi-final duel with Nick Kyrgios. Rafa played only nine more matches by the end of the year, scoring four wins and experiencing four straight defeats for the first time since 2009!
Still, the veteran is pleased with his campaign, saying it's a gift to finish at such a high position and wishing for more from January at the United Cup and the Australian Open. "I'm happy with the season and my current ranking.
At this point in my career, being here is a gift, and I always give everything passion and intensity. I can not play for ten more years, but I will try my best as long as I compete," Rafael Nadal said.