Rafa Roundup: How Much Longer Does Nadal Have at the Very Top?

Photo: T Golf Palma


“If I am representing my country, I need to do it with the full passion, full confidence, and full spirit as I did in 2019 in Madrid. I don’t think this year I am able to be at that level of everything. The captain know that since months ago.”

And Nadal admitted that his days of playing in a Spain shirt for Davis Cup may be over.

“I don’t know what can happen in the future. As everybody knows, I am getting old (smiling). Even if I would like to be everywhere, I can’t, I simply cannot. Let’s see if I’m able to play again the Davis Cup one day. I am not sure about it. Of course, in my mind, would love to say good-bye from that beautiful competition playing. Let’s see what can happen in the future.”

“I always said the same: tennis is better when the best players are on the court,” Nadal said at the ATP Finals in Turin.

“At the end, we don’t have to create many stories. Even if [it] was a big mess what happened last year in Australia, was not good for our sport. That was past. Roger [Federer] is not playing anymore. I missed a lot of Grand Slams for injuries. Last year Novak was not able to play there. That is [the] past. What is next is Novak will be able to play again. That’s the best news possible, especially knowing that now the virus is more under control – seems – around the world. So why not? Happy for him. Happy for the tournament. Happy for the fans. That’s it.”

Sterling as the first six months of 2022 have been, the second half of the year puts him back where he was a year ago, questioning his future and thinking about an exit strategy. He has committed to some exhibitions. The promoters are nervous. If he does play, they’ll double as stress tests for his body and mind and willingness to travel with a son at home. Because he won last year and honor demands you show up and try to defend, he’ll likely play Australia and Paris. But already he is talking about how events “could be my last.”

Where is Nadal? Essentially where he was this time last year, hard as that it to believe. His play will have to improve. His health will have to improve. He’ll go to Australia unsure when and where the end will come. I’m hopeful, but enough of a realist to know that his current situation isn’t sustainable. Something’s gotta give here.

“Yes. French Open is gonna be number 15 coming up next year,” Rusedski told Prime Video when asked whether he saw Nadal ever winning another Grand Slam title. With 14 French Open titles to his name and a 112-3 lifetime record at Roland Garros, the former world No 4 also said he could see Nadal continuing his career as long as he felt he had a chance of winning on the Parisian clay.

Rusedski continued: “That’s one that if he believes he can still win, he’s gonna keep on playing in for another five years if he still thinks he can win the French Open. But physically I don’t think the body will allow him to do so but as long as he believes he can win Majors, he’ll be in the sport.”

Meanwhile fellow British No 1 Henman disagreed and put a timeframe on Nadal’s career, admitting he saw the world No 2 lasting another year-and-a-half in the sport, potentially giving him two more French Opens to win. “Yes, I think he will,” he said after also being asked whether Nadal would win more Majors.

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Rafa and his Uncle Miguel playing golf in the Absolute Doubles Balearic Championship | T Golf Palma


  1. Did anyone seen highlights? All 3 matches rafa won straits. He served a lot of aces and that is a good sign… His forehands worked well too… I think he is on the way he wants for the begining of 2023 sezon.. Stay safe Rafa and all the good rezults will come to you. Vamos!!!!!

  2. It will be diffiicult for Rafa to stay at the very top. He’ll probably have to win 2 slams per year to do that since he has to limit the number of tournaments he plays. But as long as he can win one slam per year and/or do well at the others he should stay in the Top Ten as long as he wants to, barring catastrophic injury.

    • I am a huge Rafa fan and can’t see him fall out of the top 10 if he is healthy and playing tennis. He played very limited tennis this year and still ended up #2 at year end. Imagine if he had been healthy all year how much of a cushion and buffer he would have had at #1 ranking and points over alcaraz! When Rafa was healthy he was sparkling and scintillating. Health is critical to his continued success. As Rafa said after coming back from injury each time, he has not forgotten how to play tennis but must recover the positive feelings on court. I would love for Rafa to reclaim the #1 ranking even in a limited playing schedule. I have faith and trust that he can do it. I also believe ge will be able to win several more majors. He is Rafa the GOAT in my books! 😊

      • It is obviously important that Rafa accumulate points in Australia. He has 2000 points at stake at the AO. Djokovic for example can only gain points. Also, indications are that Rafa will not play Mexico in March which would cost 500 points.

        On the other hand Rafa seems determined to make a fast start. After the exhibitions Rafa will play in the new United tournament in Australia beginning December 29. (Not sorry to see the end of the ATP tournament). And he is usually at the practice court prior to traveling to Australia.

        I’m trusting that Rafa and his team will be prepared.

    • Jill- DG, I don’t know that there will be broadcast TV of the Rafa exhibition matches in the U.S. The exhibition tour is organized by the same group that did the Federer tour in 2019 and I don’t recall those matches being televised. I hope I’m wrong. Perhaps there is some kind of specilized package somewhere to be found.

      BTW I agree absolutely with your comment below that Rafa is a long way from beiing done. The exhibitions are one step to Rafa getting back to top form.

    • I believe the exhibition matches will be made available on youtube at some point.

      Rafa was named ESPN’s male tennis player of the year for 2022! With 2 grand slam titles in 2022, no one deserves it more than Rafa! Best wishes, Rafa in the offseason and 2023! We can’t wait to see you play and win in 2023!

      • Rafa deserves it, no doubt. Rafa also won the ESPYs tennis award for best male tennis player in 2022. Vamos!

      • Thank you Carla! Highlights of Rafa’s match against Casper Ruud in Argentina are now posted on Youtube. Rafa hit some amazing winners, and would love for him to play like that so relaxed and powerfully accurate in 2023!

      • Thanks Carla G. I watched a You Tube video of Rafa playing A. Tabila (ranked about 86) in Chile. They were both standing way back and just blasting the ball.
        Looked to me like Rafa was really having fun.

      • I have been checking YouTube for these exhibition matches. I can say with 100% certainty that the reception for Rafa during the latin American tour has been amazing, and they absolutely LOVE Rafa! Check it out!

      • I think these exhibition matches will sharpen Rafa’s skills and confidence before the 2023 tennis season starts. Good news is he has won them all so far. Fingers crossed that everything goes well, and Rafa has a wonderful holiday season with his beautiful wife, son, and family.

  3. No way Rafa is done. He is always “realistic” about where is is IN THE MOMENT. He plays life day-by-day. As we all should. Do not worry about tomorrow – tomorrow will take care of itself. Rafa has proven on the court COUNTLESS times – play the ball that’s served. Period. Barring a MAJOR injury, he’s far from done. Everyone thought he was done at this time last year. I think he proved them wrong. Just a bit. THE GUY IS YEAR END WORLD NO. 2!!! And they want to write him off????? Seriously. Some people just want to shoot him down BECAUSE he is so dang amazing. G.O.A.T. Period. Vamos, Rafa!

  4. Injuries will come even more often next year than last year. It will come fast, often and with fury.

    • Rafa, you are an amazing champion, and we love you! You are the best example on and off the court for future tennis stars. Your work ethic, determination, and fairness in play are awesome. You make us fans empowered with passion to watch your tennis. You will continue to prevail. Keep rising and growing your goat (greatest of all time in history) status! Your Roland garros records (most titles, wins, and best win percentage) will last forever!!!

      young_voter is not a fan but a hater, and we will just ignore the malice and evil in young_voter. The world is a better place without such hatred.

  5. I am encouraged by Rafa’s win over Rudd as he played like the Rafa that we all have seen at the top of his game and with confidence . Rafa is going to be very competitive throughout 2023 and I am hoping for 2 slams. Beyond 2023 ,we shall see if Rafa wants to keep playing . It really depends on his physical wellbeing since his mind is strong and his love for the game is obvious .

  6. Gosh! No need to write Rafa’s epitaph just yet. Rafa has served his country incredibly well playing tennis under the Spanish flag for so many years and he’s been the cornerstone of the Spanish Davis Cup Team for so long. The team has depth in talent and It’s now time for Rafa to think about himself and what’s best to get the most out of the remainder of his tennis career. I salute you champ!
    I think the exhibition will be good for Rafa – fun, nothing on the line (except pride) and pre-season practice.
    Fitness permitting, Rafa will get back on track next year, as long as he picks his tournaments carefully. That would mean that he’d probably slip in the rankings, but if his priority is the slams, that might have to be the trade-off.
    I don’t want to speculate on exactly when Rafa will retire. It’s up to him. Let’s just look forward to next season, pray that he’s injury free and enjoy watching him as much as we can.

    • I agree Lorna. All genuine Rafa fans want him to continue as long as he is enjoying the competition. If he can practice and play without injury Rafa will regain his confidence and be able to compete with the best again.
      It was always going to be very tough for him to compete with the top eight, having played so few matches in the last six months due to injury. (I had rather hoped that he would take the rest of the year off and return fresh in time to play one or two of the smaller tournaments ahead of the Australian Open.) Perhaps he decided to play in Turin because, as the No.2 Player in the World, he had well and truly earned his place there and he is not sure that he will be around this time next year; so it could be his last appearance at the ATP Finals. I do hope not of course. I hate to think about him retiring because the Tour will never be the same when he does. Let’s hope he can practice and play injury free for a sustained period next year. Rafa will continue to play as long as he believes he is playing well enough to win more Majors. We know that 2023 isn’t going to be easy for him because the younger players such as Alcaraz are beginning to shine now but, as we all know, Rafa is a great competitor. As long as he is fully fit he will be able to prepare well and give himself chances, as he so often says. Best wishes to Rafa for a happy and healthy 2023.

    • Rafa has done enough for Spain in the davis cup. His performance in the 2019 finals in both singles and doubles on a fast indoor hardcourt at altitude was one of the greatest I’ve ever seen in the history of the cup rivalling Becker 1988,89, stich 1993, Sampras 1995. But 2019 derailed his AO campaign and honestly others should step up now. He has been part of 5 Davis cup wins for Spain and it’s timw for him to focus on slams until he calls it a day whenever that is. Also the French open 2024 holds more importance for him than the Paris Olympics as it should. He has done enough for Spain in my opinion.

  7. Who knows? Hope Rafa stays injury free and enjoys the twilight of his extraordinary career. He’s the ⭐️ on and off court.❤️

    • Fear not Fans…Jbeer has been on this website for years and years… he tries to be a shock jock but it doesn’t work! I myself don’t understand why he doesn’t get kick off but I guess it’s freedom of speech! Anyway Rafa has so much love and admiration here that his opinion comes from the book of “Who Cares”

    • Rafa, please enjoy the offseason with your beautiful wife, son, and family. Come back rested and fully fit for an even better 2023 season!

    • Rafa is far from done with his tennis career! I believe in Rafa when he says he will die trying. His effort and persistence are off the charts!

    • Rafa is my favorite tennis star 🌟! The last few years have been tough during the pandemic, but Rafa provided light ☀️ to us fans with his great example and grand slam title wins! 🏆 Please keep going, Rafa! We will continue to cheer and root for you! 🍎

    • We are so lucky 🍀 to have Rafa playing in 2023! Remember this time last year when he wasn’t sure how long or if he would be able to play again. Vamos, Rafa – stay healthy and fit throughout 2023! 💪

      • Very well said! We love Rafa! Tennis needs Rafa! Tennis won’t ever be the same if Rafa isn’t playing. Rafa revolutionized the game of tennis in a better way, not just on the court but off the court. ❤️ 😃

  8. This part “especially knowing that now the virus is more under control – seems – around the world. So why not?” shows what an incredible ignorant normy Rafael Nadal is. A bad human being in fact. Truly disgusting to see how 100% brainwashed and ill informed he remains 10 months after going full fascist in an interview during the AO. May karma strike.

    • Don’t you think you are a little harsh in your comment? The ignorance you refer too is exactly where very wealthy people’s minds are at. They do not see the world and think as we do. Do I excuse that? No. I think that Nadal was referring to the fact that the virus is not in a pandemic stage, and of you have noticed he does not always express himself well at times in other languages except Spanish.
      The bit about karma, really??

    • Puh-lease, you intoxicated beer person. If all you do is spew hate and negativity, then you don’t belong here. Go somewhere else for those bad thoughts. Please cleanse your mind and soul before posting again.

    • Please provide the facts that are backed by science. Your opinionated beliefs are what’s wrong with people in this world. The world has dramatically improved since 2020 (the onset of COVID pandemic). We are no longer in an acute phase of the pandemic due to a significant portion of the population having been vaccinated and/or having had the virus already and recovered. Even the World Health Organization sees a brighter future on the COVID pandemic front at this stage. Scientists believe the virus will never go away (endemic phase) but is more under control. That’s what Rafa is saying as well. The situation has improved, but we are not completely out of the woods yet.

    • J Beer, your comments show how incredibly ignorant you are. There has been so much loss of life during the pandemic due to the COVID virus. In the USA alone, over 1 million deaths were caused by COVID. Let’s not forget that. The pandemic is in a better situation around the world now, but the virus hasn’t been eradicated.

    • J Beer is ignorant and disconnected from reality. I am glad that the world continues to evolve for the better. Rafa, we really really look forward to seeing you play in 2023.

    • What are you doing here, J Beer?

      Another wolf in wolf’s clothing?

      Bet I know you’re a mole for someone….someone who breaks rules to achieve what they want.

  9. Que sera, sera…..

    You are and have been number 1 for me, Rafa!

    I will miss you so much but no one can take away the beautifull memories from me.


    • I’m hoping for the best and to see Rafa play for as long as he wants! As the Australian Open tweet said it best: “Long may you play, Rafa!” I would love to see Rafa win BOTH Roland Garros in 2024 AND the gold medal in singles at the Paris Olympics that will be staged at Roland Garros in 2024…That would be another dream year!

      • Rafa has given us so much joy over the years. No other athlete has reached the top, relinquished it due to injuries, and reclimbed the pinnacle of the sport as many times as our Champion, Rafa. Rafa knows his body best, and I believe he will continue to play tennis for as long as he is happy and passionate about the sport. Not only does he have the most fans out there, but he inspires the best of the new generation (current real-world examples of the best in their generation include Iga Swiatek #1 female tennis player in the world, Casper Ruud, Carols Alcaraz, Andrei Rublev, Daria Kasatkina, to name a few on both the women’s and men’s side). I would love to see him continue to grow his “legend” status!

      • Rafa, we know you will continue to try and play your best. We look forward to enjoying your matches in 2023 and beyond. Best wishes on health, happiness, and more wins! Enjoy your time around the world playing in the biggest events and stadiums and gazillions of fans. You bring the best of excitement and energy in tennis. You are the best in the history in my books!

      • Rafa, you are an amazing champion, and we love you! You are the best example on and off the court for future tennis stars. Your work ethic, determination, and fairness in play are awesome. You make us fans empowered with passion to watch your tennis. You will continue to prevail. Keep rising and growing your goat (greatest of all time in history) status! Your Roland garros records (most titles, wins, and best win percentage) will last forever!!!

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