Rafael Nadal is out of the top-8 for the first time since January 2017! Unlike six years ago, the Spaniard will not have a chance to grab a significant result and improve his ranking, set to leave the top-10 after Indian Wells for the first time since April 2005!
Rafa did not attempt to defend 500 ATP points last week, withdrawing from Dubai and extending his break from tennis due to an injury. Nadal stands on 3315 ATP points, six behind the young Dane Holger Rune, who pushed him out of the top-8.
Nadal was in a great position to finish the previous season at the top at 36 after conquering the Australian Open and Roland Garros. Rafa led the ATP Race despite injuries and setbacks, seeking the third consecutive Major crown at Wimbledon.
The Spaniard ousted Taylor Fritz following an incredible five-setter in the quarter-final, prevailing in over four hours despite apparent issues. The veteran revealed a seven-millimeter abdominal tear and withdrew ahead of the semi-final duel with Nick Kyrgios.
Plagued with injuries, Rafael Nadal will leave the top-10 in two weeks.
Despite giving his best to recover, it remains Nadal’s last notable tournament. The Spaniard scored three wins at the US Open before losing to Frances Tiafoe.
The pain was still there, and Rafa missed all the action ahead of the Paris Masters. Never enjoying indoor conditions, Nadal struggled to find the pace after a long break, losing four consecutive matches for the first time since 2009!
The year-end no. 1 battle became the mission impossible, and Rafa embraced an off-season, hoping for a fresh start in 2023, similar to the one he had a year ago. Instead, he has played only four matches this year, losing three and sealing his fate in the top-10.
Nadal won the opening set against Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur at the United Cup in Sydney. However, the Spaniard lost the pace in sets two and three to suffer losses after over two hours and 40 minutes. Not feeling at his best, Rafa gave everything while seeking the Australian Open title defense.
He overpowered the young Briton Jack Draper and faced Mackenzie McDonald in the second round. The American proved too strong and scored a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph for a place in the third round. Rafa injured his left hip in the second set’s closing stages, refusing to retire and giving his 120% in the third.
However, he suffered a late break to propel the rival over the top and drop almost 2000 ATP points. After further checks, Nadal revealed a Grade 2 iliopsoas injury that forced him to miss Doha and Dubai. Rafa started with basic preparations on clay, making it clear he was not ready to compete in Indian Wells and Miami.
Nadal will try to recover in time for Monte Carlo, but Barcelona and Madrid also stand as options after a slow recovery process.