Twelve months ago, Rafael Nadal was the leader of the ATP Race, standing 1400 points clear of his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz! Rafa made his best start to the season in 2022, and there’s not even a glimpse of that in the opening three months of the current season.
Plagued with injuries, Nadal has played only four matches this season, losing three and experiencing an injury that has kept him away from the court since January! Due to his poor luck since August, Rafa dropped out from the top-10 for the first time since April 2005, missing five tournaments and not confirming his return date.
Nadal was a happy camper at this time of the year twelve months ago, despite fracturing his rib and missing his beloved Monte Carlo and Barcelona. With 3350 points under his belt, the 35-year-old Nadal was the best player of the opening three months in 2022, securing three titles from four finals.
Rafa made an incredible comeback in Melbourne in January after missing the second part of 2021. The Spaniard claimed an ATP 250 trophy in Melbourne and his second Australian Open, the first since 2009! Nadal trailed 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 in the final to Daniil Medvedev and headed toward Melbourne’s fifth straight final loss!
Unwilling to surrender, Rafa made one of his most brilliant comebacks in a career and scored a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 victory in five hours and 24 minutes. Thus, the Spaniard claimed the record-breaking 21st Major crown and moved ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
With a boost on his side, Nadal secured his fourth Acapulco title without losing a set, beating Daniil Medvedev and Cameron Norrie for his third title from as many tournaments this year. Chasing the fourth consecutive title in Indian Wells, Nadal reached the title clash after a couple of tough wins and extended his season’s best start in a career.
Rafa fell to Taylor Fritz in the title clash and failed to add 400 more points to his impressive tally.
Rafael Nadal has played only four matches this season.
Struggling with a fractured rib, the Spaniard withdrew from Miami and Monte Carlo and missed a chance to chase more titles, especially on his beloved clay.
Nadal did not play well in Madrid and Rome, struggling with a foot injury and gathering dark clouds over his Roland Garros chances. Rafa needed injections ahead of six matches in Paris, killing the pain and lifting his 14th Roland Garros crown following victories over Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud.
Nadal reached the Wimbledon semi-final following an epic win over Taylor Fritz in a five-setter. However, the Spaniard withdrew ahead of the Nick Kyrgios clash due to a seven-millimeter abdominal tear. It marked the beginning of Nadal’s terrible luck, as the Spaniard played only 13 matches since August and scored five wins.
Rafa experienced four consecutive losses for the first time since 2009 at the end of the previous season and experienced another setback at the start of 2023. Nadal lost both matches at the United Cup from a set up and injured his left rib in the Australian Open second round.
The Spaniard fell to Mackenzie McDonald and has not played since. The veteran skipped Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and Monte Carlo, losing many points and dropping out from the top-10. Rafa is back on the practice court, hoping to compete again in Barcelona in a couple of weeks.