Rafa Nadal's Uncle Toni says: "I think if Rafael did not have so many injuries, he would probably be the best ever. He had injuries and there is nothing else to say..." Well, Rafa is still the no. 1 player in the world and just as his opponents Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have comeback power so does Nadal.
Rafa's injuries had paralyzed his performances time and again. It was at the Paris Rolex Masters that he was suffering from an abdominal injury and couldn't go on, bowing out of his quarterfinal matchup with Denis Shapovalov.
Yet, he still came back to win the Italian Open over Djokovic and then the French Open over Dominic Thiem. He made it to win the Rogers Cup, the U.S. Open and the ATP World Tour Finals. He is coming out with the most positives at this time.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic has done some resurgences as he came back from elbow surgery in 2017 and then this year just a few months ago struggled with a shoulder ailment. He sadly had to retire from the match with Stan Wawrinka in the Round of 16.
Novak was forced to skip the Laver Cup due to prolonged pain in his shoulder and then had a dry spell when four tournaments had flown pass without him winning a single title. "I have been training without pain for two days and that makes me optimistic about the idea of fulfilling my calendar."
At the beginning of the 2019 season, the Serb won Australia and thought it to be a glorious season ahead. Well not mostly wrong it was good, but he's never hooked up back-to-back tournament wins as Nadal. There were events where Djokovic hadn't the magic to consistently get victories over opponents.
The bright star for him was at winning the Paris Rolex Masters over the NextGen Denis Shapovalov gave him the confidence to feel good about going to the next performance. "..I started off very well, very solid...I was just waiting for him to drop his percentage of first serves in..."
he'd said about the Canadian. Djokovic made it into the ATP Tour Finals, but Roger Federer came up with the winner in straight sets. Roger Federer may be a huge favorite on many occasions to the two opponents, but he is the oldest and despite his injuries, he managed to do exceptionally well.
Walking on the court, fans have given him the win column. But not so quickly. Many say Federer's years on tour are numbered. He admits of his lack of skill during crucial times lead to his downfall as at this year's U.S.
Open against Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian dismantled Federer's game in front of a traditionally sold-out crowd. The Swiss says that "I needed some treatment on my neck...Grigor was able to put me away and I fought with what I had and that's it...The Swiss felt the match slipping away not able to grasp a method to counteract his opponent.
"..The start to the 4th wasn't ideal, the start to the 5th wasn't ideal. I was running behind so that was tough. He gave me all sorts of problems with the rhythm...When you're down you feel worse..." This season, not Djokovic or Federer has won back-to-back tournaments, nor did as well as Nadal at Davis Cup.
Rafa went on to recently win his 5th title at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships at Abu Dhabi. The Spaniard went on to defeat the determined Greek, Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets. He had come back after a first set loss tiebreak to win two straight sets.
The match went to over three hours and with many thinking, Rafa had exhausted himself at Spain's Davis Cup over Switzerland, he just keeps coming at his opponents like a boxer on his last round. 'You're only as good as your last stance' the saying goes.
Rafa's last match turned into another title another way of saying he is holding firm on his No. 1 title no matter when or where. Rafa says that "It's important to have clear goals, and then you have to do it, and it's something difficult because being in the top three is not easy." Nadal gave a big grin and happily says "I finished the season playing well which helps me to keep going."