US Open: Rafa Nadal appears for the first time in New York undefeated in the majors

US Open: Rafa Nadal appears for the first time in New York undefeated in the majors


The Spaniard returns three years later to the US Open as one of the best candidates for the title. The absences of Djokovic and Zverev further strengthen their options.

Nadal, during a recent training.Sarah StierAFP
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Minutes after losing in Cincinnati to Borna Coriceventually champion of the tournament, Raphael Nadal He commented in a press conference that he was already thinking of “activating the Grand Slam mode”. It was his first match since winning Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and could not play the semi-finals against Nick Kyrgios due to abdominal injury.

In a career punctuated by various physical misadventures, the Spaniard has shown particular finesse in the majors,. those for whom he continues to play tennis, just like Novak Djokovicabsent from the US Open which begins on Monday for not having met the vaccination requirements.

Nadal had never appeared in New York undefeated in Grand Slam tournaments, although it was at Flushing Meadows that he completed the best year of his career in 2010, after winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon. In the season that concerns us, the Spaniard lifted two opposing sets to Daniel Medvedev to win his second Australian Open, won his fourteenth Roland Garros beating in the final Casper Ruud and walked regularly on London grass until the aforementioned accident.

At 36, and with the chronic scaphoid injury in his left foot stifled for now, Nadal is sharpening his goals more than ever. He has 22 Grand Slam titles and continues to lead his career with Djokovic, although the Serb has closed the gap with his sixth Wimbledon win. Both interpret the rest of the tournaments as spaces where they can prepare for the majors.

From one year to another

Nadal, winner of the US Open in 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019, was pictured just under a year ago leaving a Barcelona clinic on crutches, where he underwent surgery to treat Müller-Weiss syndrome. His future was uncertain. Before starting against the Australian Rinky Hijikatawho will face at one o’clock in the morning this Wednesday, when he arrived short of preparation and awaiting the response of the service after his problems with the abdomen, the left-handed, second seed, looks like the ‘one of the main candidates for the final victory.

It’s not just about the absences of Djokovic and Alexander Zverevwho did not arrive in time to reappear after tearing the lateral ligaments of his right ankle in the semi-finals of Roland Garros, against Nadal, but, above all, the competitive height of a tennis player who won 35 games and he’s only lost four in 2022.

Nadal returns to the US Open three years after his last appearance, when he defeated Medvedev, now the defending champion and world No.1, in the final. In 2020 he decided not to attend due to the pandemic and in the last edition he was battling the trickiest of his ailments. The board does not appear strewn with mines, Fognini oh Karatsev as hypothetical second-round rivals, perhaps Kecmanovic in third and a possible semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz. In addition, if the cup is raised, he would rise to first place in the rankings, a reward that would also accompany Alcaraz and, obviously, Medvedev, if he is able to repeat the success of 2021, when he deprived Djokovic of becoming the third tennis player in history with talent and arrests to win all four majors in the same year.

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