Rafael Nadal is not experiencing the best moment of his career, thanks to the usual physical problems. The former world number 1 hasn’t shone in recent months and dropped out of the Top 5 at the end of the 2023 Australian Open.
The Spanish phenomenon had left everyone speechless in the first half of last year, in which he won the Australian Open and Roland Garros caressing the dream of returning to the top of the ATP ranking. After the semifinal reached at Wimbledon, injuries reappeared and Rafa was no longer able to find optimal form.
His 2023 started in the worst way, given his premature exit from the scene in Melbourne and the ileo-psoas injury that could keep him still until the Masters 1000 in Montecarlo. The Majorcan’s big goal is obviously Roland Garros, where he will hunt for his 15th seal.
In the latest edition of the ‘Big Deal’ podcast, Darren Cahill invited the Next Gen to take an example from a legend like Nadal.
Cahill on Rafa Nadal
“Rafael Nadal is an amazing person, an amazing athlete,” Cahill expressed.
“You want the next generation to be little Rafa’s, don’t you? The way they train, the way they treat their opponents, the way they treat everything. His work ethic is second to none, the way he goes about his tennis. You want the next generation to have his ethics, his work ethic.
We’ve been saying it for a few years that there might be a changing of the guard and we haven’t really seen it, have we? Because Novak continues to do Novak things and Rafa won a couple of majors last year with the Aussie and the French,” Cahill stated.
“We would love some of the young guns to come through and start winning a few Majors, that would be great for the sport. But these guys are not going to give up the mantle easily,” he added. Former player Brad Gilbert has said that Novak Djokovic’s wins at the 2019 Australian Open, including his dismantling of Rafael Nadal in the final, left him amazed.
“Sitting courtside, the most amazed I ever was, at Australia, was like three years ago (four), when Djoker destroyed Nishikori in the quarters, destroyed Lucas Pouille in the semis, and Rafa was playing incredible, he was playing incredible.
The dismantling that he (Djokovic) gave Rafa in the final, it’s incredible,” Gilbert said. “He’s a lot like fine wine, he’s getting better. This year, I really felt like, from two aspects of his game at 35, that he’s doing better than ever.”