Despite injuries and setbacks, Rafael Nadal has been a player to beat in 2022. The Spaniard has won two major titles and will have a great chance to return to No. 1 in the world after the US Open. Rafa withdrew before the Wimbledon semi-final due to an abdominal injury, and it is his main concern ahead of the last Major of the season.
Rafa admitted that he has to be very careful during training sessions, working on his serve while he tries not to aggravate an injury. Nadal will play in New York for the first time in three years, after winning the title in 2019 and skipping the next two editions.
Rafa came to New York after an early loss in Cincinnati, leveling him up on the practice court and setting up the first-round clash against Rinky Hijikata. Nadal is 35-4 this year, starting the season with three consecutive titles and securing his 14th Roland Garros crown.
Rafa moved ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer after his 21st major crown at the Australian Open, his first in Melbourne in 13 years! Rafa conquered Acapulco and reached the Indian Wells final. He played it with a fractured rib and lost to Taylor Fritz in straight sets.
The Spaniard skipped his favorite events in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and did not play at his best level in Madrid and Rome. Hoping to improve his performance in Paris, Nadal outclassed Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev before beating Casper Ruud in the title match.
With a boost from him, Rafa set his sights on his first Wimbledon crown in 12 years.
Nadal is the second seed
Novak Djokovic’s absence from the 2022 US Open has been the talk of the town over the last few days, but Rafael Nadal feels that shouldn’t be the case.
“Well, in some way we know that Novak will not play for a while if nothing change in terms of the rules, no? We know that since months ago. From my personal perspective, is very sad news,” he said. “It’s always a shame when the best players of the world are not able to play a tournament because of injuries or because of different reasons.”
Recalling how he has had to miss more than a few tournaments due to injuries, the 36-year-old pointed out how the world of tennis simply kept going regardless. “But on the other hand, I repeat what I said plenty of times: the sport in some ways is bigger than any player.
I missed a lot of important events in my tennis career because of injuries, without a doubt,” Nadal said. “Last year I was not here. Two years ago I was not here. [But] the tournament continues. The world of tennis keep going.”