After playing just seven official tournaments in 2021, many thought Rafael Nadal was close to retiring. The Spanish champion admitted that he did not know if he would return to high levels, but the first part of 2022 dispelled any doubts about the competitiveness of the Majorcan. The former world number 1 won the Australian Open against all odds, completing a sensational comeback against Daniil Medvedev in the final. The 36-year-old from Manacor then lifted the 14th Roland Garros, despite the pain in his foot forced him to undergo a series of infiltrations. Rafa also attempted the feat at Wimbledon, but had to forgo the semi-final against Nick Kyrgios due to an abdominal tear. The 22-time Grand Slam champion is training on hard courts and will be back in action in Montreal next week. The Iberian’s goal is to make it 100% to the US Open, a tournament he hasn’t played since 2019. In a long interview with ‘The Week’ magazine, John McEnroe analyzed Nadal’s attitude.
McEnroe opens up on Nadal
“[Players today] seem like unbelievably nice people. Rafael Nadal has claimed he’s never broken a racket in his life. But generally, I think people are, as far as tennis goes, more like me and Connors than Borg, who never showed any expression,” McEnroe said. “It’s a very frustrating game that it’s hard not to get emotional about. I’d be, like, ‘I’m gonna go practice and be like Borg for two hours,’ and that would last, like, five minutes. It just wasn’t in my DNA.” McEnroe regretted how people came to recognize him only as the bad guy — which might be slightly true on the tennis court, but off the court, he was just as nice a guy as anyone else. “You sort of feed into this villain thing, maybe unbeknownst to yourself, and then it becomes this out-of-control monster,” McEnroe said. “People started to recognise me—‘Are you that brat guy?’—and it completely changed my life. I was, like, ‘They don’t understand me, I’m a nice guy.’ But of course I wasn’t real nice on the court at times.” Rafael Nadal is having a brilliant 2022. The Spaniard started the year by claiming the Australian Open. Further, he conquered Roland Garros yet again. The 36-year-old was going strong in the Wimbledon Championships as well. However, an unfortunate injury meant he had to sit out and miss his semi-final match against Nick Kyrgios.