WATCH: Enjoy 15-minutes of brilliance from Rafael Nadal during his ‘unforgettable’ 2022 season
The 2023 season has been one to forget so far from Rafael Nadal as he has struggled with injury, but let’s remember the good times by enjoying 15-minutes of highlights from his brilliant 2022 campaign.
Let’s start with a quote from the great man after he won his season opening match at the 2022 Adelaide International.
After defeating qualifier Ricardas Berankis in the second round Down Under, Nadal said: “I just love what I am doing. I always feel passionate about the sport in general.
“I feel very lucky that I can live from one of my hobbies. I know it’s not forever, it is not a job that you are going to do for 50 years, but I want to enjoy it as much as I can while I still have the chance.”
The millions of Fedal fans around the world will be grateful that he is able to “live one of his hobbies”.
The Spaniard went on to reach the final in Adelaide, defeating Maxime Cressy from the United States 7–6 (8–6), 6–3 to lift the 89th title of his golden career.
Eighty-nine titles became 90 titles in the space of a few weeks as he went on to win the Australian Open for a second time, this time battling from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev 2–6, 6–7 (5–7), 6–4, 6–4, 7–5.
The win at Melbourne Park took his Grand Slam tally to 21 – the outright record in men’s tennis.
The Rafael Nadal juggernaut then hit Acapulco and he took his unbeaten run for 2022 to 16 as he again went all the way to win his 91st ATP Tour singles title with Cameron Norrie the beaten finalist this time.
Next up was the Indian Wells Open and he was tested by Nick Kyrgios in the quarter-final as it went the distance, but ultimately the Spaniard came out on top with a 7-6 (7-0), 5-7, 6-4 victory and took his winning streak to 20 matches by reaching the final. However, his unbeaten run came to an end as he lost in straight sets against Taylor Fritz.
The rib injury forced the veteran to miss the start of the clay season and he only made his long-awaited return at the Madrid Open, winning his opening two matches before going down 2-6, 6-1, 3-6 against eventual winner Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-final.
A third-round exit followed at the Italian Open, but it was all part of his build-up for the French Open as he ended up winning a record-extending 14th title at Roland Garros.
His latest success in Paris also helped him to take his Grand Slam tally to 22.
“For me, personally, it’s very difficult to describe the feelings that I have,” Nadal said. “It’s something that I, for sure, never believed – to be here at 36, being competitive again, playing in the most favorite court of my career, one more time in the final. It means a lot to me. Means everything.”
Next up was Wimbledon and he continued his unbeaten run in Grand Slams in 2022 by reaching the semi-final, but a foot injury forced him to withdraw from his clash against Nick Kyrgios.
After another spell on the sidelines Nadal returned at the Cincinnati Masters in August, but his comeback was short-lived as he was beaten in the second round by eventual winner Borna Coric.
It was his only warm-up match ahead of the US Open, but he stretched his unbeaten run in Grand Slam matches in 2022 to 22 as he reached the fourth round. However, he was stunned 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6 by Frances Tiafoe of the United States.
He then featured alongside his great friend Roger Federer in THAT doubles match at the Laver Cup before returning to ATP Tour singles action at the Paris Masters where he hadn’t featured in two years. It turned into a disappointing tournament as he lost his opening match against Tommy Paul.
Nadal’s final act of the 2022 season came at the ATP Finals where he started the tournament as top seed, but he lost his opening two matches against Taylor Fritz and Félix Auger-Aliassime. He went on to defeat Casper Ruud in the final round-robin match, but it was not enough to reach the semi-final.
It was still a year to remember for the legend as he said: “The year has been a dream year in terms of results. After coming back from five months injury last year, so in terms of that it has been unforgettable.”
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