The clay court season began without Rafael Nadal, who sustained a stress fracture in his rib during the Indian Wells semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz. The Spanish champion started the season in an excellent way, literally breaking the bank at the Australian Open. Fresh from a long stop due to injury and arrived in Melbourne without great expectations, the former world number 1 has achieved one of the most incredible feats of his entire career. After bending Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini, Rafa was able to come back two sets behind Daniil Medvedev in the final. Thanks to that triumph, the 35-year-old from Manacor climbed to 21 Majors, beating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings. The Iberian has also become the fourth man in history to have won all Grand Slams at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson). A few hours ago, Nadal announced that he will be back in action in Madrid next week. Speaking to Eurosport, Mats Wilander hinted that the Majorcan may have miscalculated.
Mats Wilander on Rafa Nadal
“I expected Rafael Nadal to skip Indian Wells and Miami after his win in Acapulco. He probably pushed his body a little too much. Without Indian Wells, he would have had a month off and enough time to prepare for his favorite surface. It's always the same with Rafa. He loves tennis and competition so much that he goes on the court and gives everything he can when he feels good. It's a vicious circle: you push your limits, you get injured, you get back in shape and you start to give the best of yourself again. This is Rafa's career, and he has had a very good one. He is the best player of all time on paper and he has achieved a lot despite injury breaks,” the Swedish Eurosport consultant aptly pointed out. The 21 times Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has come a long way since his debut in 2001. He now has 91 singles and 11 doubles titles. Further, he has held the ranking of world no.1 for a record 209 weeks. Recently, Nadal made history by breaking Jimmy Connors’s record of 887 weeks in the top 10 of ATP. While speaking to the press post his victory Rafa spoke about entering the top 10 of ATP at just the age of 18. He said, “At the end I’m 18yo & I just try to enjoy on the court. I don’t feel the media pressure, I feel the same guy as 3 months ago when I was 56. Now I’m 7 and all that changes is a number. The rest is just the same."
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