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Rafael Nadal – 2022 Wins Season Review

The year 2022 was an incredible and emotionally and physically challenging one for Rafael Nadal. 

In this article, Tennishead looks back on one of the most memorable seasons in the tennis legend’s career.

It was an incredible comeback

As the Australian Open approaches, Rafael Nadal ramps up his preparations

After Rafael Nadal sustained a foot injury during his summer 2021 season, some feared his career was over. It was not until the ATP 250 Melbourne Summer Set on 6th January that he returned to the tour.

Nadal received a walkover from Tallon Griekspoor after beating 104th-ranked Ricardas Berankis. He reached the final after defeating Finnish youngster Emil Ruusuvuori. Nadal defeated serve-volleyer Maxime Cressy 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 to win his 89th tour level title. Almost a decade had passed since he last won a title on hardwood courts.

On the Spaniard’s return, any title was enough of a surprise. It was impossible to predict what would happen.

Rafael Nadal vs Maxime Cressy | Melbourne Summer Set 2022 Final Highlights

Rod Laver Arena makes a comeback 

Nadal was seeded sixth at the Australian Open a week later. Earlier in the season, he won straight sets against Marcos Giron and Yannick Hanfmann.

Afterwards, Karen Khachanov faced off for the eighth time in her career and the results were the same as they had been the previous seven times. In four sets, Nadal defeated the Russian 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. As a result of a straightforward win over Adrian Mannarino, he reached his 44th career Slam quarterfinal.

Denis Shapovalov was the young gun he faced there. The fight between the two sides was drawn level after the Canadian took a comfortable two-set lead. Shapovalov faded as Nadal sealed it 6-3. It was a close call.

It was in the semi-finals that Matteo Berrettini, the Wimbledon finalist from 2021, awaited. The only previous meeting between the two had also taken place in a major semi-final, at the 2019 US Open. In fact, Nadal won the match in four sets, as opposed to three, winning 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

This set up a final against 2021 runner-up Daniil Medvedev. He hoped to win a second major in a row after a poor performance at Melbourne 2021.

When he led 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in two sets, that appeared to be the outcome. Consequently, Nadal faced a mountainous challenge. As he recovered to win 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 after more than five hours on court, the Spaniard recovered to win after more than five hours on court.

After winning the Australian Open in 2009, he completed the Double Career Grand Slam, surpassing Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic with 21 Slam titles.

Rafael Nadal v Daniil Medvedev Condensed Match (F) | Australian Open 2022

Rafael Nadal win-loss record to this point: 10-0

A halt has been put in place for the Rafael Nadal Express

A month after winning in Melbourne, Rafael Nadal won in Acapulco. Over the course of five matches, he did not lose a set, including a 6-3, 6-3 win over Medvedevin in the semi-finals.

As soon as Nadal returned to Indian Wells, he was in trouble. As he faced Sebastian Korda in the third set, the American twice served for the match up, 5-2 and 5-4. The Spaniard fought back, however, and won to remain undefeated for the season.

Before facing Nick Kyrgios in the quarterfinals, Evans defeated Reilly Opelka and Evans defeated Dan Evans. It was a tough match between Nadal and Federer, and Nadal came out on top 7-6 (7-0), 5-7, 6-4. He was followed by his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, in a contest that was both exciting and mouthwatering.

In arguably the best three-set match of the year to that point, Nadal prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 despite abdominal issues. Taylor Fritz, a California native, challenged him in the final. The 24-year-old challenged Nadal, who was noticeably injured and was unable to keep up with him.

Roddick suffered his first defeat of 2022 as Fritz defeated him 6-3, 7-6 (7-5). In his semi-final with Alcaraz, he revealed that he had broken a rib. That left fans wondering when they could expect to see him back on the court.

Rafael Nadal win-loss record to this point: 20-1

Rafa Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz: UNREAL Tennis From Last Hour of Match! | Indian Wells 2022 Highlights

Underperformance unprecedented in history

Nadal made his ATP return at the Madrid Masters at the beginning of May after an absence of about a month and a half. In an epic match, he faced former world number seven David Goffin after defeating Miomir Kecmanovic.

Goffin extended the contest to a decider twice in the second set as Nadal twice held match points, once on his serve. You are unlikely to ever see a more exciting tiebreak than the one that ended that set.

As a result, he won the match 11-9 and flew to his nation’s capital after saving four match points.

INSANE Rafael Nadal vs David Goffin Tiebreak In Full | Madrid 2022

Carlos Alcaraz was then contacted for another meeting. The 19-year-old, now a Masters 1000 champion, was ready to face his idol. Another stunning contest saw the young man defeat his compatriot at the third attempt. He secured his second Masters title by beating Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

Rafael Nadal’s win-loss record to this point: 22-2

Prior to the French Open, Nadal hoped to win at least one clay title in Rome. Denis Shapovalov defeated Nadal after Nadal won easily over John Isner. A new injury had appeared, this time a resurgence of his left foot problem.

Nadal was unable to compete fully against the Canadian, losing 1-6, 7-5, 6-2. For just the second time since 2005, he entered the French Open without a clay title. During the Covid-disrupted 2020 season, many clay events were canceled.

Rafael Nadal’s win-loss record to this point: 24-3

Rafael Nadal is never to be underestimated

By winning the Australian Open in January, the legend accomplished the seemingly impossible. It is clear that he was not in a position to win a 14th title at the French Open, despite his superiority on the court.

It took Nadal until the fourth round to make it without dropping a set despite still managing his foot injury. In the second round, Felix Auger-Aliassime pushed him hard. A five-set battle ensued between the Canadian and Nadal, with Nadal winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

In the quarter-finals, he faced Novak Djokovic in a rematch of their epic semi-final from 2021. During the four hours and sixteen minutes of play, the duo played into the early hours of the morning in Paris as they competed against each other. With 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), Rafael Nadal beat his opponent from 2021 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).

It was a disappointing end to an epic semi-final against Alexander Zverev. Despite more than three sets, the second set was decided by a tiebreak after more than three sets. In Paris, the German’s run ended when he suffered an ankle injury that ended his campaign.

A man devoted to Nadal since childhood faced Nadal for the title, Casper Ruud. In his awe, the Norwegian couldn’t cope with the occasion. As Nadal won his 14th Roland Garros crown and 22nd Slam singles title, he extended his record to 22 in the process.

As a result of his injured foot, the Spaniard had to travel quite a distance to compete. A painkiller injection numbing his foot completely allowed him to play with a ‘zombie’ foot during the tournament.

Rafael Nadal win-loss record to this point: 31-3

Taking a wild ride at Wimbledon 

During the grass events leading up to Wimbledon, Nadal rested. Against Francisco Cerundolo and Ricardas Berankis, he won both matches in four sets. The Spaniard reached his eighth career quarterfinal at SW19 after a straight-sets win over Lorenzo Sonego, followed by a straight-sets victory over Botic van de Zandschulp.

During his second visit to Indian Wells, the two-time champion faced off against Taylor Fritz for the third time. Despite the American’s victory in California, this was a Slam quarter-final, the domain of the great.

It was later determined that Nadal had suffered an abdominal tear, causing him to struggle again at Indian Wells. Even though his physical condition deteriorated, most notably on serve, the 36-year-old reached his third consecutive Wimbledon semi-final.

Despite Nadal’s physical capacity, the signs were dire. In response to fears that he would withdraw, he called a special press conference the very next day.

FULL TIE-BREAK | Rafael Nadal vs Taylor Fritz | Wimbledon 2022

It was exactly that that happened as the Spaniard withdrew from the Calendar Slam. As a result, Nick Kyrgios entered his first Slam final as a walkover.

Rafael Nadal’s win-loss record to this point: 36-3

Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Wimbledon Due to Injury | Press Conference | Wimbledon 2022

Rafael Nadal says farewell to a friend in New York

Returning inauspiciously

Having been away from competition for six weeks, Nadal returned to the Cincinnati Masters. Borna Coric, whose ranking was protected, was his opponent.

Nadal’s loss in three sets to world number 152 was still shocking despite his prolonged absence. He had only played four games so far this season. Although Nadal won only one set against Coric, the Croatian won the Masters title nonetheless. Therefore, in retrospect, the Spaniard’s effort wasn’t so bad.

Borna Coric Shocks Rafael Nadal! | Cincinnati 2022 Highlights

Reunion after a long absence

After winning the US Open for a fourth time in 2019, Nadal made his first appearance at the event since. The 22-time Slam winner remained one of the favorites for the title despite being in uncertain physical condition and having played just one match in eight weeks.

Nadal was able to beat wildcard Rinky Hijikata and Fabio Fognini in four sets. Richard Gasquet was 17-0 against Nadal on the tour. A 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 victory extended his winning streak to 18 straight.

It was a true challenge to get through the fourth round. Frances Tiafoe, the defending champion, reached the last 16 in his eighth home Slam appearance. Before facing Nadal, he hadn’t dropped.

A packed Arthur Ashe Stadium ignited the American’s excitement at the prospect of facing his idol. In 2022, he became the only man to defeat Nadal at a Slam, defeating him 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Rafael Nadal’s win-loss record to this point: 38-5

Roger Federer bids farewell to his friend and rival

As part of the fifth edition of the Laver Cup, Nadal joined fellow ‘Big Four’ members Federer, Djokovic, and Murray in Europe. This was Federer’s final appearance as a professional tennis player following his retirement announcement.

The first doubles rubber of the tournament featured a dream match-up between Nadal and Federer. In taking on Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe, the duo had their work cut out for them. Nevertheless, Federer, an unranked player, and Nadal, out of practice, put on a great show in London.

Federer was overcome by emotion immediately following the match tiebreak, where a win eluded them.

He and Nadal in particular were moved to tears as tributes were paid to the retiring legend. There was an end to an incredible rivalry that spanned fifteen years, tussles in Slam finals, and more than 40 competitive engagements.

Emotional Roger Federer’s farewell interview in FULL 😢 | Laver Cup 2022 Moments

Taking care of business

Family celebrations

In October, Nadal and his wife welcomed their first child, a boy, on the 8th. He announced shortly after that he would return to action at the Paris Masters and ATP Finals under the guidance of his coach Carlos Moya.

Parisian problems 

Rafa Nadal Vs Tommy Paul | Paris 2022 Highlights

Rafael Nadal has never won the Paris Masters in his career, one of just a few big tournaments he hasn’t won. His first match back in 2022 ended in a loss to Tommy Paul, the American world number 31.

During the third set in particular, the 36-year-old looked off the pace, raising doubts about his 11th appearance at the ATP Finals.

Ending an extraordinary year with a difficult end

A few people were surprised to see Nadal at the year-ending Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. Alternatively, he could stay longer and spend more time with his newly baptized child. However, despite being near the end of his career and always being a fighter, the Spaniard chose to continue playing.

Both Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Rafa in straight sets at the end of 2022, which was not the triumphant end his fans would have liked to see.

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