‘He’s lost some heart-breakers to Rafael Nadal’, says expert


There were high expectations for his start to the season, but Rafael Nadal’s 2023 Australian Open was anything but positive. The Mallorcan champion, winner of 22 Grand Slam titles, not only was unable to defend the title won twelve months ago, he fell back in the standings and, above all, suffered a second-degree injury to the iliopsoas muscle, yet another injury that has characterized the last months. Now Rafa could be out for about two months, although it must be said that the Iberian tennis player has entered the entry list for the ATP 500 tournament in Dubai, scheduled for February 27. So everyone, Rafa in primis, wants to better assess the state of the Spanish champion. However, barring a sensational turn, Nadal will skip the American 1000 and work directly with the specific preparation for clay. Here, in a few months, Roland Garros will be played, which continues to be the great objective of this 2023 for the Spaniard. Former tennis player Alex Corretja spoke to the microphones of El Larguero about the situation of the Spanish tennis player: “Rafa’s true objective is to prepare as well as possible for clay court tournaments, I don’t think he will risk playing the Masters 1000 on American cement.” Then Corretja continued: “The last few months have been difficult for him, but we all must not forget what he did last year. The victory in Melbourne 2022 was a miracle, without forgetting the triumph in Paris despite constant physical problems. This year is key to the continuation of his career. If Rafa realizes that he has too many physical problems and therefore cannot compete for a Slam, then he will seriously consider his future. Nadal always pushes his body to the limit and in order to fight to win he has to be at 100%. I understand his frustration, the problems he’s had have affected his hip, which I would say is a pretty sensitive area.”

Nadal aims at Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic equalled Rafael Nadal’s record tally of 22 Grand Slams by winning a historic 10th Australian Open title at Melbourne Park on Sunday. Novak Djokovic is the “second-best” clay-court player in the world after Rafael Nadal, according to tennis journalist Steve Flink. “He is the second-best clay-court player in the world. I believe that firmly and it is not inconceivable,” Flink said. “Yes he’s lost some heart-breakers to Rafa. But, he’s also beaten him a couple of times on that court which is remarkable, including, two years ago, when in the semis before he came back against [Stefanos] Tsitsipas in the final. Novak came from a set down to beat Rafa in that epic semifinal that they had,” he added.

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