Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic voted among greatest athletes of 2022

Rafael Nadal US Open

Sports fans have come together to vote for the greatest athletes of the year 2022 and Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are among them.

Three tennis players have cracked the top 30 of the list with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal featured alongside retiring Serena Williams.

Serena Williams’ presence in the list speaks more to the end of her iconic career than her achievements in the 2022 season.

The vote was conducted by popular internet barometer Ranker and saw Lionel Messi come in as the year’s top athlete.

Popular NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo got the No 2 spot on the list while the NHL’s most likeable man Connor McDavid has made waves in 2022 as well and is No 3 on the ladder.

Despite a tumultuous year Cristiano Ronaldo was in at fourth on the list even as he hunts for a new club.

The second NBA entry follows the second from football as the Golden State Warriors Steph Curry makes his presence felt.

Rafael Nadal is the first man from a sport that isn’t football or one of the big American leagues as he comes in at No 8 on the list.

Nadal won his 21st and 22nd Grand Slams in 2022, claiming the French Open while having an injured foot numbed by painkilling injections.

Injury marred the second half of the year for Nadal, who suffered abdominal injuries during his runs at both Wimbledon and the US Open.

It was at that US Open that Serena Williams snatched headlines and grabbed the attention despite a short run.

Williams bid an emotional farewell to the world of tennis but wouldn’t actually commit to staying away from the game giving some faint hope that she might make another bid at Grand Slam number 24.

She ended her career as the seven-time champion in both Melbourne and at Wimbledon and also bagged six US Open titles to go with the three hardest-fought of her Slams at Roland Garros.

Djokovic dominated headlines all year even when he was not on the court for whatever reason.

The start of the year was marred by his Australian Open ordeal which continues to have an affect on Djokovic.

That absence does set up the possibility of an early dash towards the top of the ATP Rankings for Djokovic as he doesn’t have points to defend in Melbourne.

Djokovic was among the form players at the tail-end of the season alongside a gaggle of youth brigade members who are challenging for the right to have their names in lights like the big three.

Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune, and Felix Auger-Aliassime will be tennis players to watch in 2023.

Meanwhile, in the women’s game, Iga Swiatek is the reigning queen, and her season deserves acknowledgement which this batch of voters did not account for but she too faces growing opposition from a group of players hoping for their breakthrough.

Caroline Garcia, Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina could be players on the WTA Tour worth keeping tabs on in 2023.

READ MORE: Australian Open means less if Novak Djokovic is absent says Nick Kyrgios