The most prominent young man on the ATP Tour, Carlos Alcaraz, was born on May 5, 2003. By then, the 16-year-old Rafael Nadal had already won two victories at the Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo and had started his journey at the Masters 1000.
Nineteen years later, Rafa and Carlos are the leaders of the ATP Race after the first three months of the season, placing Spain above other countries. With 3,350 points to his credit, the 35-year-old Nadal is by far the best player of 2022, with three titles from four finals.
After missing the second part of the previous season with a foot injury, Rafa made an incredible comeback in January in Melbourne. The Spaniard claimed an ATP 250 trophy and his second Australian Open, the first since 2009!
Nadal trailed 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 in the Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev and headed for his fifth straight losing final in Melbourne. Unwilling to give up, Rafa staged one of the most brilliant comebacks of his career, scoring a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 victory in five hours and 24 minutes.
In this way, the Spaniard won the 21st Major crown, a record, and was ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. With a boost from him, Nadal secured his fourth Acapulco title without dropping a set, beating Daniil Medvedev and Cameron Norrie for his third title in as many tournaments this year.
Chasing a fourth consecutive title in Indian Wells, Nadal entered the title clash and extended the best start to the season of his career. In the title match, Rafa fell to Taylor Fritz and was unable to add 400 more points to his already impressive tally.
Rafa Nadal will miss the Montecarlo Masters
Chris Evert believes Rafael Nadal’s injury problems are a blessing in disguise as they allow the Mallorcan time to rest his body. “I think with his record this year, he has lost one match so far,” Evert told Eurosport.
“He had that streak of so many tournaments and so many wins, and he has had a wonderful start to 2022. I think this injury is a hiccup.” She highlighted how the Spaniard will need to be at his best from a physical standpoint to compete in the best-of-five format at Roland Garros.
“He has put his body through the mill the last 20 years and I think the more important thing right now is making sure that he is healthy, especially when you are playing three out of five sets,” Evert said. “Especially when you are playing Grand Slams, seven matches to win, and especially with how well the other men are playing,” she added. “I think it is crucial that he is 100% healthy if he hopes to win the French Open.”