Rafael Nadal joins Roger Federer on massive record
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 6626
Roger Federer achieved 16 year-end top-5 seasons, leaving Jimmy Connors on 14 and raising the bar. Rafael Nadal responded and followed his rival's challenge, remaining competitive at 36 and notching his 16th year-end top-5 season in 2022!
Thus, Nadal joined Federer at the top, with a chance to pass the Swiss in 2023 and top the chart. Rafa embraced his first year-end top-5 season in 2005 at 19. Nadal's breakthrough year saw him winning a Major and four Masters 1000 titles!
Rafa would stay in the year-end top-5 for 11 straight seasons before losing ground a bit in 2016. The Spaniard bounced back in 2017 and added four more year-end top-5 years to his tally to stand on 15. Rafa matched Roger after another reliable performance in 2022 (he missed the second part of 2021 due to an injury) at 36.
Nadal is still among the world's best players, claiming two Major titles and wrapping up the year in the top-2. The veteran claimed his first Australian Open crown since 2009 following an epic win over Daniil Medvedev in the final after five hours and 24 minutes.
Rafa embraced a 20-0 start before losing his first match in the Indian Wells final after fracturing his left rib in the semi-final. Nadal missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona and struggled when he returned. Rafa did not play at his best in Madrid and Rome, and his left foot bothered him again ahead of Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are tied on 16 year-end top-5 seasons.
Nadal needed injections ahead of every match in Paris to kill the pain and fight for the title. Rafa provided his good old clay-court magic and defeated Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud for his 14th Roland Garros crown and the 22nd Major!
Nadal set his eyes on his first Wimbledon crown since 2010, but it was not to be. The Spaniard reached the semi-final following an epic victory over Taylor Fritz in five sets. However, he revealed a seven-millimeter abdominal tear that forced him to withdraw ahead of the Nick Kyrgios clash.
Rafa would play only nine matches by the end of the season, winning four and failing to fight for the year-end no. 1 honor. The Spaniard embraced four consecutive defeats for the first time since the end of 2009 and beat Casper Ruud in the season's last encounter.
Nadal is ready for a fresh start in 2023, leading Spain at the inaugural United Cup ahead of the Australian Open.