'Let's hope Rafael Nadal's body responds', says top coach
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 3151
Rafael Nadal has been fighting injuries for a couple of years. The Spaniard has won a Major in five of the previous six seasons, but often had to take breaks and skip many essential tournaments. Boris Becker, a six-time Major winner, doesn't see Rafa playing until he's 40, and believes his retirement is probably just around the corner.
Nadal was unable to catch a breather in 2021, experiencing setbacks and skipping the second part of the season with foot problems. Out of shape and with leg matches, Rafa started from scratch at the beginning of 2022 and surprised everyone, including himself.
The Spaniard went 20-0 in the first four tournaments of the season and lifted his first Australian Open crown since 2009. Nadal rose above all challenges and defeated Daniil Medvedev in an epic final to become the first player with 21 Major titles.
Rafa ended his streak in the Indian Wells final against Taylor Fritz, fracturing his left rib and staying away from the slopes until May. The king of clay did not provide his best game in Madrid and Rome, and his left foot bothered him again facing Roland Garros.
In search of his 14th Parisian title, Nadal required injections before games to dull the pain and move without problems. Rafa overcame tough challenges and secured his 22nd Major title after a dominating victory over Casper Ruud in the final.
Nadal continued his Greats streak at Wimbledon and reached the semifinal. Rafa overcame Taylor Fritz in a thrilling quarter-final and revealed a seven-millimeter abdominal tear that forced him to withdraw and miss the clash against Nick Kyrgios.
Wimbledon was the last decent tournament for Nadal, who battled injuries for months and won only four more matches at the end of the season. Hoping to have another good start to the season like 12 months ago, Rafa participated in the inaugural edition of the United Cup and lost to Cameron Norrie and Alex De Minaur.
Eager to defend the title in Melbourne, Nadal outpointed Jack Draper in the first round, desperate for momentum and more wins.
Uncle Toni opens up on Nadal
After expressing his anger and sending a message to the authorities following the new injury of his Rafael Nadal, eliminated in the second round of the Australian Open, Toni Nadal spoke about the rest of the season for his nephew.
“My hope now is focused on seeing him, once again, raise his head and fight to be at Roland Garros to defend his chances. Let's hope his body responds, because the commitment and the capacity to suffer, I think he won't miss it,” wrote the Spanish coach in his column for El País. As a reminder, Rafa will already be absent for a period of six to eight weeks.