World No. 4 Rafael Nadal has battled various odds this season to win both the Grand Slams of the season so far and lead the Tour in the number of titles won despite having suffered two big injuries in the 6 months of the season. Coming into the season, he had played only two events since the 2021 French Open of which one was an exhibition event. With only 1 title in the Australian Open so far, the chances of him winning the 2022 Australian Open were slim.
Nadal nevertheless won the Grand Slam in an epic 5-hour thriller against Daniil Medvedev to become the first man to win 21 majors. With smooth sailing going into the clay season, he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his rib that caused him difficulty with breathing. He recovered from it and with a leg that was dead after injecting painkillers, he went on to defeat Casper Ruud in the finals of the 2022 French Open after winning in a top-heavy draw that saw him defeat defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.
“Rafael Nadal is an example for everyone”: Stefanos Tsitsipas
World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas recently talked about the greatness of Rafa in his interview with Ultima Hora ahead of his second-round match against Ilya Ivashka in the 2022 Mallorca Championships where he is looking for his first Grasscourt title and being the second seed, he has a good chance.
“I think there are not many players who are capable of doing everything that Rafa has shown us over the years. He has shown himself to be disciplined, hard-working and consistent. He has always kept training to improve and learn, he doesn’t make excuses when things don’t go well. And despite everything that has happened to his foot, even in his worst moments, he always knows how to get up and is an example for everyone. Nadal does things that seem impossible.
“And I’m talking about things like winning this Roland Garros, and doing it up to fourteen times, or conquering twenty-two Grand Slams, he dominates all terrains. Those values and those things that he told you before. His ability to work, humility, competitiveness, effort and sacrifice. Many things that we always have to learn from. Rafa Nadal is more than an athlete or a tennis player, he is an icon of the sport.
“Tennis in this case, but also Mallorca, his island, and Spain. He is a world ambassador for the sport and the best ambassador for Mallorca. He is a person known throughout the planet and, furthermore, he enjoys what he does and at the same time makes those who follow him and watch him play enjoy,” said Stefanos prior to his match in Nadal’s hometown.
Follow our page FirstSportz Tennis for the latest updates