Rafael Nadal required injections before every match in Paris to ease the pain and compete at the desired level. Rafa displayed his magic on clay and beat Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud to win his 14th Roland Garros title and 22nd Major.
Nadal wished for more at Wimbledon, seeking the first All England Club crown in 12 years. The Spaniard achieved an epic five-set victory over Taylor Fritz and advanced to the semifinals. However, the veteran player revealed a seven-millimeter abdominal tear that forced him to withdraw before the clash against Nick Kyrgios.
Rafa would play only nine games at the end of the season, winning four and failing to challenge for the number 1 honor of the year against Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal lost in the fourth round of the US Open, losing four straight for the first time since late 2009.
Eager to end the losing streak, Rafa defeated Casper Ruud in the final match of the season at the ATP Finals in Turin, hoping to start anew in 2023. Nadal trains in Spain, a preseason in which he alternates work on the court with training in the gym, fine-tuning the machine for an Australian tour in which he will have to defend the title in the first Grand Slam of the season, the Open of Australia.
In addition, Nadal will be the leader of his country in the new United Cup, a competition for nations in which he will be accompanied by another great figure of Iberian tennis, Paula Badosa.
Rafa will play the 2023 United Cup
Former French player Arnaud Clement is confident that Rafael Nadal did not use any of the banned substances during the 2022 French Open.
“I never asked myself the question in relation to Rafael Nadal, especially after the last Roland Garros, everything he did. In addition, he even almost made it public. So at some point, there are rules, we follow them or we go beyond them, but in no case, Rafael Nadal was on drugs, I believe.
I have absolutely no doubts about the ethics of this player," Clement told Eurosport. "It's not because a player is particularly physical or athletic that he is doped. You have to be careful with this kind of shortcut. We could also see players who were taken for doping and we said to ourselves, 'but no, not him, it's weird', because it's not the physics we imagine for a doped guy."