Rafael Nadal remained in the top-3 between 2005 and 2012 after an incredible start to his career. The Spaniard had problems with injuries and left the aforementioned group for the first time after entering it. He made a big push in 2013 before experiencing more trouble in 2015 and 2016, barely staying in the top 10.
Nadal was back at his best in 2017, regaining his Roland Garros dominance and claiming four more Parisian titles in the previous five years! Rafa only played 29 matches in 2021 and lost a bit of ground against top rivals. He only played two games after the Roland Garros semi-final loss to Djokovic and ended the season in August to focus on 2022.
Rafa returned to perfection and claimed his second Australian Open crown this January after an epic comeback against Daniil Medvedev in the title match. The Spaniard suffered his first loss of the season in the Indian Wells final, breaking a rib and not playing until May.
Rafa was far from his best in Madrid and Rome, struggling to find his best game and still dealing with foot pain. After receiving injections before each match, Nadal cleared all seven hurdles in Paris to claim his 14th Roland Garros crown and his 22nd Major.
Rafa had to withdraw before the Wimbledon semi-final, injuring his abdomen and revealing a seven-millimeter tear. Nadal only played one match before the US Open and was unable to challenge for the fifth New York crown, losing to Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round.
Rafa played the doubles match alongside Roger Federer at the Laver Cup, and is working hard to return to action in Paris and Turin.
Suarez Navarro speaks about Nadal
Carla Suarez Navarro recently discussed Rafael Nadal’s departure from tennis.
“Obviously, Rafa continues, but we are in his last years. Time passes for everyone and he has been subjected to a lot of demand. Physically, he is no longer what he was, although mentally he will always surprise us,” she remarked .
Upon his return in 2022, however, the former World No. 1 had one of his best starts to a season, winning 20 matches and three titles on the trot (Melbourne Summer Set, Australian Open and Mexican Open) before losing in the final to Taylor Fritz in Indian Wells.
Rafa has won two Major titles this year and has no points to defend for the remainder of the year. Nadal will almost certainly finish the year in the top-3 and move ahead of Djokovic on that list.