Rafael Nadal had been leading the ATP Race for eight months. Rafa skipped the second half of last year due to a foot injury, coming back stronger in early 2022. Nadal staged an incredible comeback in the Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev, trailing 6-2, 7 -6, 3-2 and 40-0 before prevailing in five sets after five hours and 24 minutes. In doing so, the Spaniard claimed his first Australian Open crown in 13 years and moved to the top of the ATP career for the first time in a long time. Rafa conquered the ATP 500 in Acapulco over Medvedev and Cameron Norrie, staying perfect in 2022 and going to Indian Wells as the favorite. Nadal suffered a broken rib and was unable to do much against Taylor Fritz in the title clash, losing for the first time this year and skipping Monte Carlo and Barcelona. The Spaniard returned in Madrid and Rome and did not play his best tennis, struggling with a foot injury and gathering dark clouds over his preparation for Roland Garros. Like so many other times, Nadal was a player to beat in Paris, receiving injections before each match and knocking down seven opponents to secure his 22nd Major title. Rafa defeated Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud en route to his 14th Roland Garros trophy, consolidating his leadership in the ATP Race and becoming the No. 1 of the year. Nadal received no points for the Wimbledon semi-final, leaving London with an abdominal injury that jeopardized his summer hard-court tour. Rafa skipped Montreal and suffered an early loss in Cincinnati to Borna Coric.
Rafa Nadal has had a fantastic season
A true monument in his country, Rafael Nadal has once again been honored by the Spanish state and this time by the King of Spain Felipe VI himself. The latter presented Rafa with the Camino Real award in recognition of his efforts, while declaring that he was a great ambassador for the country. Touched by this honor, Nadal took the opportunity to send a fairly clear message about the rest of his professional career. “The year has been complicated. Beyond injuries, also because of family and personal news, which in this case is very good news. That’s why receiving recognition like this today makes me even happier. I hope this award doesn’t make my career feel like it’s over. Far from it, or at least that’s not the intention. The intention is to continue to carry the name of Spain around the world while I am still active and in competition.”