Rafael Nadal has had several problems in recent months and has not been able to express the best tennis of him. The Spanish champion failed to reverse the negative trend in the first tournaments of 2023, disappointing both at the United Cup and at the Australian Open.
The former world number 1 was eliminated in the second round at Melbourne Park and suffered a second-degree lesion to his iliopsoas. The 22-time Grand Slam champion will certainly miss the ATPs in Doha and Dubai, while there is still some chance to see him in Indian Wells and Miami.
The most likely scenario is that Rafa decides to preserve his body ahead of the clay court season, where he will go hunting for his 15th Roland Garros. The Majorcan was hooked by Novak Djokovic at the top of the all-time Grand Slam rankings, after the Serbian clinched his tenth Australian Open a few weeks ago.
Interviewed by former Indian player Vijay Amritraj, Bjorn Borg analyzed in detail the prospects of Nadal and Djokovic.
Borg pays tribute to Nadal
“We used to spend five or six hours a day practicing. At the Laver Cup, they used to open the courts at 6 am because Rafael Nadal would just serve for an hour before he actually started practice,” Bjorn Borg said.
“I have never seen a player spend so much time on a tennis court. He’s one of the greats; he commits so much time to his game. It’s unbelievable. Djokovic is fit and he’s eager to play. He has three to five more very good years of tennis in him.
He wants to break all the records and set new records. I think he’ll win a few more Grand Slams. I wish him the best,” he added. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are polar opposites as tennis players, but the two tennis legends have always had similar personalities, according to Nike’s former long-serving tennis director Mike Nakajima.
“Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, they’re very similar personalities. They are two of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet,” Nakajima said. “But on the court, they were completely different. Roger plays like he is walking on a cloud, light on his feet.
Rafa is the opposite; his physicality is just brute force,” he stated. “Americans love rivalry, and we portrayed that,” Nakajima explained. “People love taking sides. Vamos Rafa! Allez Roger! And we had a lot of fun marketing those two.”