Rafael Nadal has been one of the most decorated players in history, lifting 20 Grand Slam crowns and 36 Masters 1000s in his glorious career. At 35, Nadal is still itching to fight for notable trophies and stay on top, dealing with injuries and skipping the rest of the 2021 season. Nadal hasn’t played well since the start of the pandemic last year, winning a Major crown but losing a couple of positions in the rankings to younger opponents. Prior to that, Rafa had a memorable 2019 season, winning two Major crowns and two Masters 1000 trophies to keep in touch with Roger Federer in the GOAT race. The Spaniard became the oldest year-end No. 1 since the start of the standings in 1973, winning at least one ATP title for the sixteenth consecutive season and expanding his dominance at Roland Garros after lifting the twelfth title. Rafa finished the season with the Davis Cup final title for Spain, playing passionately at home in Madrid to secure another team. Speaking about the best decision he made in his career, the most famous Spanish athlete mentioned that he never wanted to leave Spain and go live elsewhere. Despite high taxes and the indefinite duration of a career due to constant injuries, Rafa never wanted to move from Mallorca, not even to Barcelona, where he had the opportunity to train for free.
Justine Henin reflects on Rafael Nadal
According to tennis analyst Alex Corretja, Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal from major events this year is possibly a sign that his injury is worse than anyone could have anticipated. The two-time French Open finalist said he was “concerned” about the Spaniard’s future. “Since he pulled out of Toronto and Cincinnati we were wondering if he was going to be okay for the US Open,” Corretja told Eurosport. “But if he is not 100 per cent and able to play and healthy, it’s normal that he takes a little while to recover. What is concerning me a little bit is that he pulled out of Wimbledon, the Olympics and now the US Open. That means that maybe the injury is more serious than we expected, and I’m a little bit concerned for the future as well,” he added. Seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin also weighed in on Nadal’s decision to end his season. Henin claimed it was not surprising to see him pull the plug on his campaign considering the way he exited Roland Garros. “We can also see a new generation pushing a lot and, of course, Rafa has to be in his best shape if he wants to compete,” she added. “If he comes to a Grand Slam, it is to win, and he is not in the condition to do that. It would have been tough for him to be in good shape and to be able to push Novak, who is confident even though he lost at the Olympic Games,” she added.