Former world number 1 and 20-times-Sam-champion Rafael Nadal played only seven official tournaments in 2021, collecting a couple of trophies (Barcelona and Rome) but failing the appointment with the 14th title at the Roland Garros.
A foot injury severely limited him during his Paris clay campaign, a feeling that became tangible in the semi-final against Novak Djokovic. The Spanish champion has decided to skip both Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics in an attempt to recover a good form, then returning to the hard courts in Washington.
However, a couple of meetings were enough for him to understand that the problem was not solved. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has already resumed training and will return to the field in 2022, but we will have to wait a few weeks to get a clearer picture of the situation.
In a recent interview with Number Web, the 35-year-old from Manacor revealed that he has been a huge tennis fan since he was very young.
Nadal reveals his childhood idols
Talking about the champions of the last tennis era, Nadal made interesting statements.
In fact he said how he loved to see Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi's challenges. He said: "As a kid, I loved watching Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi's games. When they played against each other, it was truly an unmissable opportunity.
Sampras inspired me with his aggressive playing style, while from Agassi I drew the warrior spirit that has always distinguished me. Their meetings were fascinating above all because of the contrast of styles," added the 13-time champion of Paris.
Sampras and Agassi have faced each other 34 times on the major circuit, with Pete leading 20-14 in the head-to-head balance. Nadal also had other points of reference at a young age: "I was influenced by my current coach Carlos Moya, who has always provided me with useful advice.
Going further back in history, I cannot hide my admiration for Ilie Nastase." Regardless of the outcome of this season finale, Rafa should still keep his place in the Top 10.