Rafael Nadal's biggest concern this year may not be defeating his competitors

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Rafael Nadal's biggest concern this year may not be defeating his competitors

It was "an emotional victory without a doubt", Rafael Nadal emphasized when he was interviewed after winning last year's French Open counting it as his 14th title at Roland Garros. He was up against Norway's Casper Ruud, a 24-year-old who's coming into his own of prestigious performances with capturing 9 titles and ranked as no.

2 in the world. Rafa defeated Casper in three straight sets giving a bagel with the last to capture his 14 crown. But each season has become a bit more troubling and at times doubtful if Nadal will be able to perform at his best or to perform at all.

The Spaniard known as 'The King of Clay' has had the generative foot condition called the Mueller-Weiss syndrome. At age 19, he was diagnosed which involves having a misshaped navicular bone (near the ankle region). Nadal has other ailments which in the past has caused him to not play at his best.

He had to withdraw from the Wimbledon semifinal with Nick Kyrgios due to having a tear in his abdominal muscle sustained in the 5 setter victory in the quarterfinal with Taylor Fritz. Nadal is one of the iconic, giants that have multi slams and titles to fulfill their heavy resume.

Roger Federer decided to retire with the last Laver Cup while playing doubles with Rafa. Djokovic is continuing on his winning streak with capturing his 10th Australian Open a week ago. The ATP guys without the body mileage may slowly take over and form a new bunch of prestigious players, but Novak Djokovic wants to defy that thought saying after his Australian Open win that "I guess we always find the 'A' game in the Slams." It's getting more and more difficult to conjure up the precise gamesplan to have success match after match and tournament after tournament.

Djokovic was also very emotional on being able to win the First Slam of the year, the Australian Open even though he won in straight sets over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Novak isn't without injury at all since he won the Melbourne slam with a torn hamstring muscle.

He had sustained that at the Adelaide International even of which he won the title from Sebastian Korda. It's another season of joys and excitement as well as anticipation for Rafael Nadal. Will he win another title whether it's a Slam or not? No one can be sure, not even Rafa.

"I'm going to keep working to try to find a solution and an improvement..." the Spaniard says. He knows that being injured is one thing, but there's a limit to how much one can play with pain. All he says for now is "Let's do step by step after that let's see how that works."

Rafael Nadal