Four-time US Open champion Rafael Nadal starts his 16th season in New York on Tuesday. Rafa will take on young Aussie Rinky Hijikata, most likely during the night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium, for his first US Open match since 2019!
Nadal clinched his fourth US Open title three years ago after defeating Daniil Medvedev in a thrilling final that went to the end. The Spaniard missed the last two editions of the final Major of the season and will be back in action in New York next week.
Nadal has been training on Arthur Ashe for a few days after his early elimination at the Cincinnati Masters to eventual champion Borna Coric. Rafa shared the spot with Taylor Fritz and Miomir Kecmanovic hoping to put an abdominal injury behind him and chase the 23rd Major crown.
Nadal leads the ATP Race to Torino after a 35-4 result in 2022, captures two Major titles and has a chance to become world No. 1. 1 after the US Open. Rafa’s main concern at the moment is his serve, who sustained a stomach injury at Wimbledon and is struggling to serve correctly during practice runs.
He also experienced an early end in Cincinnati and went to New York without momentum. Rafa missed the second half of 2021 with a foot injury and was unable to play in New York.
Rafael Nadal is aiming for his fifth US Open crown.
Earlier this season he clinched three consecutive titles, including his first Australian Open crown in 13 years.
It pushed him ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the first time and gave him a boost for the months to come. With momentum on his side, Nadal lifted the trophy in Acapulco and reached the Indian Wells final for a perfect start to the season.
Playing it with a broken rib, he lost to Taylor Fritz in straight sets and suffered his first loss of the season. Rafa missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona and didn’t play at his usual level in Madrid and Rome as he lacked form and games on his beloved clay.
Nadal shifted into higher gear in the most important scene and secured his 14th Roland Garros title. Rafa beat Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev after thrillers, toppling Casper Ruud in straight sets in the final to write history books.
Eager to continue that run at Wimbledon, Nadal reached their third consecutive All England Club semi-final in hopes of winning their third straight Major. Nevertheless, he had to retire before the duel with Nick Kyrgios due to a stomach injury.
Rafa skipped Montreal and suffered an early defeat in Cincinnati, shifting his focus to the US Open. Nadal will be the 2nd seed in New York, fighting for the ATP throne with Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.
Assuming that the mentioned rivals do not all make it to the final. In this case, Nadal only needs one win to become world No. 1. 1 for the first time since February 2020.