Rafael Nadal is among the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award nominees, seeking his third prestigious honor. Nadal’s rivals are Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Max Verstappen, Stephen Curry and Mondo Duplantis. The Spaniard admitted he would love to see Lionel Messi taking the award after leading Argentina toward the World Cup crown in December.
Nadal backed Messi to receive the honor in an Instagram post, praising the football legend. Messi responded classily, honoring Nadal’s achievements and fighting spirit. A 22-time Major winner is in contention for his third Laureus award, two years after winning the second in 2021.
Rafa had a great run at Majors in 2022, winning the Australian Open for the first time since 2009 and the mind-blowing 14th Roland Garros, the title that made him the Laureus nominee. Nadal recovered from a foot injury that ruined his 2021 season and made a 20-0 start in 2022.
Rafa overpowered Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final and wished for more in Paris despite more foot issues. The Spaniard received injections to ease the pain and compete at his best at his beloved Major. After over four hours, Nadal dethroned Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final and met Alexander Zverev in the semi-final.
Rafael Nadal backs Lionel Messi to win the Laureus award.
Two rivals pushed each other to the limits and passed the three-hour mark while not completing the second set! However, the duel was over a few minutes later when the German hurt his ankle and retired in tears.
Rafa faced Casper Ruud in the final and produced a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 triumph to lift his 22nd Major crown and the 14th in Paris. Nadal injured his abdominal muscle at Wimbledon and struggled by the end of the season. He played only nine matches by the end of the season, losing five and missing a chance to fight for the year-end no.
1 spot with Carlos Alcaraz. Still, Rafa became the oldest year-end top-2 player since the start of the ATP ranking, taking the record away from Roger Federer. “Having such a great athlete like you post this about me has left me speechless.
Thank you very much, Rafa; you also deserve everything for how you compete each time you enter the court. You are a champion, and we have a lot of competition here, eh? All the nominees deserve it this year!” Lionel Messi said.