Mats Wilander explains Rafael Nadal's miracle

Rafael Nadal claimed two Major titles in 2022

by Jovica Ilic
Mats Wilander explains Rafael Nadal's miracle
© Adam Pretty / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal turned 36 in June last year. Despite injuries and setbacks, a grand champion lifted two Major titles and played another semi-final at Wimbledon, embracing one of his most notable seasons at Majors. Mats Wilander called Nadal's run a miracle after all the setbacks and injuries, performing an incredible comeback at the Australian Open and competing at Roland Garros with injections.

The Spaniard won back-to-back titles at the Australian Open and Roland Garros for the first time in a career. Rafa advanced into the Wimbledon semi-final before withdrawing due to an injury, seeking the season's third Major crown in New York.

Rafa could not fight for the fifth US Open trophy, playing only one match after Wimbledon and struggling to serve at full pace. Nadal fell to Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the fourth round, finishing his 2022 journey at Majors with an impressive 22-1 score.

It was Rafa's best score at Majors since 2019, and it came following a nasty foot injury that ruined the second part of his 2021 season. Nadal played only two matches following the semi-final Roland Garros defeat and did not know what to expect in 2022.

Rested and motivated to return to where he belonged, Rafa kicked off the previous season with a 20-0 score. He lifted trophies in Melbourne and Paris, becoming the first player with 22 Major crowns. Seeking his third consecutive Major trophy, Nadal experienced an abdominal injury at Wimbledon, serving miles below his best and withdrawing ahead of the semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios.

Rafael Nadal claimed two Major titles in 2022, standing on 22.

As we already said, the Spaniard played only one match before the US Open, insufficient to boost him. Struggling with his initial shot, Nadal lost the opening set in the first and second rounds before raising his level for a winning start.

Rafa toppled his old rival Richard Gasquet to book a place in the last 16. Still, Frances Tiafoe proved too strong for him at Arthur Ashe Stadium, delivering five breaks and overpowering a 22-time Major champion with 50 winners.

Rafa's problems escalated again in 2023, "Rafael Nadal won two Major titles and played in the Wimbledon semi-final this year. If you look at his season and all the setbacks and injuries, it's a miracle. Rafa's US Open loss was unexpected, but I think his rivals knew he was not at 100%," Mats Wilander said.

Mats Wilander Rafael Nadal