Rafael Nadal‘s season starts uphill and, at the same time, the year ends in the worst way. Before 2023 officially strikes in Australia, the Spanish tennis player has kicked off his new season in the United Cup. In the opening match, he faced Cameron Norrie, number one in the United Kingdom of this new competition: first match, first defeat.
The Spanish number two was defeated in three sets: after winning the first, he let his opponent come back in the following two sets. This defeat means two things: beyond the point lost in domestic competition, Nadal opened the season with a defeat.
It is not the first time that the Spanish number two has started a new season with a defeat: it is the third time in the Grand Slam champion’s entire career. Although it happened in 2022, the 2023 season is the third that started with the match lost against Cameron Norrie in the United Cup.
Rafael Nadal’s firsts new season matches mark a negative record
To the fictitious 2023, this new season slightly back from the new year, there are only two precedents. The last time Rafael Nadal suffered a defeat in the first match of the new season dates back to 2015.
In the Doha tournament, preparatory to the Australian Open at the time, the twenty-two times Grand Slam champion was defeated in the first round against Michael Berrer, a German tennis player who had passed the qualifiers of that tournament.
Also in that match, the Spaniard, seeded number two in the tournament, made his comeback after winning the first set. The first time, however, he is going back to the point of going back to the first seasons as a professional tennis player.
Again, there is talk of a preparatory tournament for the Australian Open. In the Chennai tournament, Nadal lost the Frenchman Thierry Ascione: this is the only case where the Grand Slam champion did not win a single set of the match, with a clear 7-6 6-4.
Rafa, anyway, will be one of the most awaited stars at the Australian Open, and one of the main favorite, with Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. The Slam Down Under will start on 16 January 2023.