‘Rafael Nadal has to be in his best shape if he wants…’, says legend

'Rafael Nadal has to be in his best shape if he wants...', says legend

Rafael Nadal has been on the Tour for two decades, playing his first professional tournaments in 2001 and winning the first ATP match a year later. The Spaniard is among the best players of all time after winning 20 Major titles and 36 Masters 1000 crowns, staying in the top 10 since April 2005 despite numerous setbacks.

Dealing with permanent injuries, Nadal has always known how to get the most out of his game and remain competitive for nearly two decades, still eager to chase notable titles and high positions. At 35, Nadal will have to overcome another challenging period and a nasty foot injury that has plagued him since June and forced him to skip the rest of the season.

Rafa claimed two titles this season, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in that epic Barcelona Open final after nearly three hours and 40 minutes and lifting the 36th Masters 1000 crown in Rome a few weeks later. Nadal lost in the Madrid Open quarter-finals to Alexander Zverev and faced another tough opponent early in his campaign in Rome.

Young Jannik Sinner stood on the other side of the net, and the Spaniard praised his skills and determination to work on his game and deliver constant improvements. Rafa stressed that he has always given his best, regardless of the rival, round or event, preparing for more against the Italian teenager, whom he beat in straight sets after a solid battle.

Justine Henin comments on Rafael Nadal

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin also weighed in on Rafael Nadal’s decision to end his season. Henin claimed it was not surprising to see him pull the plug on his campaign considering the way he exited Roland Garros.

“It is not a big surprise, we knew it could happen. The way he (Rafael Nadal) left Roland Garros, we could see it was difficult, physically, and it looks like it remains hard physically,” Henin told Eurosport. “We can also see a new generation pushing a lot and, of course, Rafa has to be in his best shape if he wants to compete,” she added.

“If he comes to a Grand Slam, it is to win, and he is not in the condition to do that. It would have been tough for him to be in good shape and to be able to push Novak, who is confident even though he lost at the Olympic Games,” she added. The Spaniard later withdrew from Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics in a bid to protect his body.

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