Rafael Nadal’s 2023 has certainly not started under a good star. The Spanish phenomenon withdrew prematurely at the Australian Open, where he had to defend the title won in 2022, in addition to suffering a second-degree injury to the iliopsoas.
The 36-year-old man from Manacor has left the Top 5 and it is unlikely that we will see him on the track again before the Monte Carlo Masters 1000. The big goal for him is obviously Roland Garros, where he will seek his 15th title.
The former world number 1 was surpassed by Novak Djokovic at the top of the all-time Grand Slam rankings, after the Serb won his 10th Australian Open a few weeks ago. Rafa’s physical condition worries fans, who ask many questions about the future of his idol.
The Iberian hasn’t played his best tennis since he reached the semifinals at Wimbledon last year and has only won one match in 2023. The 22-time Grand Slam champion will try to turn things around on his favorite surface. Meanwhile, it has been made official that Nadal will not participate in either the ATP 250 in Doha (February 20-25) or the ATP 500 in Dubai (February 27-March 4).
Rafa will lose the 500 points of the title that he won last year in Acapulco and will fall further down the standings. The Spaniard currently occupies the sixth position with 3815 points, 100 more than Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Taylor Fritz, world number 8, has 3410, followed by Holger Rune and Hubert Hurkacz. Nadal’s tenure in the Top 10 is also threatened by Cameron Norrie and Daniil Medvedev, who have 2,760 and 2,750 points respectively.
Ferrero comments on Nadal
Carlos Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero reckons Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are going to duke it out with his ward for Grand Slams this year.
“The good thing about those who are very good is that a bad day gives them to give a great level. Carlos has always had that, since he was a kid, I’ve seen him have bad days when he can get himself together and come back after a very bad set.
That has made him win a lot of matches this year,” Ferrero said. “As he has said, [Nadal] still has a lot of desire and I think it is the physical that will set the limits. In 2022 he won titles like two Grand Slams, it is normal that he is still motivated.
It discourages you when you no longer give the level,” Ferrero said. “As long as he continues to give the level he is giving, he will continue to be motivated. He will retire when he doesn’t feel competitive and is not having a good time.”