Rafael Nadal did not attempt to defend 500 ATP points this week, withdrawing from Dubai and extending his break from tennis due to an injury. Nadal currently stands on 3315 ATP points, falling through the ATP ranking list and preparing to leave the top-10 for the first time since April 2005!
Rafa is ranked 8th after losing positions to Taylor Fritz and Daniil Medvedev. Thus, the Spaniard leaves the top-7 for the first time since January 2017 and occupies his worst place on the list in over six years! Nadal was in a great position to finish the previous season at the top 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 duel 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 is slowly leaving the top-10 company.
Despite giving his best to recover, it was Nadal’s last notable tournament up to this point.
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 is yet to start with practice sessions, and it’s hard to expect him in Indian Wells, where he played in the final a year ago.
Thus, the Spaniard should leave the top-10 in March for the first time in almost 18 years and conclude one of the most thrilling streaks in tennis history.
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