'Rafael Nadal was struggling with his foot and...', says former star



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'Rafael Nadal was struggling with his foot and...', says former star

Tennis 2022 is in its final credits. The ATP Finals and the Davis Cup were the last two major tournaments to end the competitive season. After a period of well-deserved rest, the tennis players are now preparing for 2023, which will be busy and, as usual, will begin on Australian soil.

Some friendly events have already been organized and will start in the next few days. One of them will be the Diriyah Tennis Cup, which will be held on December 8 in Al Diriyah (Saudi Arabia). The singles competition will feature four first round singles matches and four quarterfinals on the same day.

On the second day there will be two semifinals, while the final will be played on the third day. Up to five players from the top 10 of the ATP ranking will participate in the tournament, in order of ranking Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz.

They are joined by Italian Matteo Berrettini, Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios, Cameron Norrie, Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem and Dominic Stricker to close the circle of participants. Hubert Hurkacz, 10th in the ranking, was on the verge of qualifying for the ATP finals, a feat he had already achieved the previous year.

The Pole has only managed to bring home one title this year, that of Halle, where he defeated Medvedev in straight sets. During a promotional video for the tournament titled "This or That", Hurkacz was asked to choose between two options in a series of questions.

The most frequently asked question was the last one, which faced the former Miami champion with this choice: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, in which he chose the Swiss without hesitation.

Clijsters praises Nadal

Comparing the playing styles of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters stated that she is a fan of both.

"I love how Rafa plays, the intensity, the battle, and the hustle. But with Novak there's such a physical smoothness, I'll call it, when he moves from side to side," Kim Clijsters said during an interview on The Craig Shapiro Tennis Podcast.

"What Rafa did this year in Australia. You know, just knowing a little bit of how he was struggling with his foot and being so close to thinking, 'Am I actually going to get to a level I want to get back to?' And then for him to get to a level that was, maybe, some of the best tennis that I've ever seen him play, I thought was incredible," Clijsters expressed.

"Novak is like he just picks up from there, right? He goes to Wimbledon and you can see the focus," she added.