Rafa Nadal had a great season, winning two Major titles and moving ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Nevertheless, the Spaniard has been struggling with injuries and setbacks since the beginning of the year, as so often before.
After concerns about his foot, Rafa broke a rib at Indian Wells and ruined his clay court season. Nadal needed injections in his affected foot to stay competitive at Roland Garros, win the 22nd Major crown and hope for more at Wimbledon.
The Spaniard was unable to fight for the All England Club trophy after suffering a stomach injury. It prevented him from practicing his serve and left London with a seven-millimeter tear ahead of the semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios!
Rafa went home to Mallorca and returned to the practice ground. He skipped Montreal and decided to test his body in Cincinnati. Nadal lost to Borna Coric in the second round, raising dark clouds over his US Open chances. The Spaniard beat three rivals in New York to finish in the last 16 and keep his chances of becoming world no.
1 lives. Instead, Nadal lost to Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round, allowing Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud to overtake him in the ATP rankings. Rafa had to process the family drama away from the tennis court as his wife had to stay in hospital for a few days.
Rafa and Xisca are expecting their first child in the next few weeks and he wants to spend time with his wife at home. Still, the 22-time Major winner had to make a quick detour to London and join Roger Federer at the Laver Cup.
Two legends shared the court on Friday night as Roger retired from tennis after 25 glorious years.
Rafael Nadal will stay at home with his wife for a few weeks.
Federer and Nadal played the last encounter of an opening day against Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
Two Legends wasted a match point in a 4-6, 6-2, 11-9 loss in two hours and 13 minutes. Rafa struggled more than the other players in his games, with clear signs of an ongoing abdominal injury. He faced a break point in the first set 4-4 and Roger saved him before they broke Frances 6-4 in the next set.
The Spaniard lost serve 1-1 in the second set, and he and Roger pulled it back after Frances’ double fault in game six. Rafa was in trouble again at 5-5 after peddling no fewer than six break points. Team Europe saved her before losing the tiebreak 7-2.
Nadal took charge early in the match tiebreak and claimed the first three points. The Americans fought back and took a 4-3 lead to increase their chances. The Legends fought back to 8-8 and earned a match point. The Swiss failed to convert on serve and Frances fired off a return winner to make it 10-9.
Sock landed a forehand winner to send his team up front and end Roger’s career in an emotional night. “I’m not doing well and I’ve had a challenging couple of weeks. It was stressful and I couldn’t sleep for more than a few hours.
I had to deal with a complicated situation at home and it’s a different pressure than on the pitch. Luckily everything is fine now and we are much calmer. That’s why I was able to travel to London, which was very important for me,” said Rafael Nadal.