Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal says he now plays only because of his happiness and personal motivation. Nadal, who will be turning 36 next month, is still a strong force in tennis and contender for the biggest title in the world.
The 2021 season was extremely challenging for Nadal, who was limited to just one tournament in the second half of the season. Nadal made a stunning comeback to tennis in January, winning back-to-back titles at the Melbourne Summer Set and Australian Open.
“I don’t play anymore for things outside of my happiness and my personal motivation. I am happy doing what I am doing. I still feel myself competitive when I am healthy enough,” Nadal said in Rome, per Lorenzo Ercoli.
#Nadal: “I don’t play anymore for things outside of my happiness and my personal motivation. I am happy doing what I am doing. I still feel myself competitive when I am healthy enough”#IBI22 pic.twitter.com/D8mbAXCi63 – Lorenzo Ercoli (@ Ladal17) May 9, 2022
Nadal suffered a setback ahead of the clay season
Nadal won his first 20 matches of the season but then suffered a rib stress fracture in the Indian Wells semifinal.
After having difficulties with breathing and losing the Indian Wells final, Nadal underwent testing to determine what was the problem. The tests revealed Nadal sustained a rib stress fracture and that sidelined him for a month and a half.
After missing Monte Carlo and Barcelona, Nadal started his clay season in Madrid. In his first match back, Nadal defeated Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets. In the Madrid round-of-16, Nadal saved four match points before beating David Goffin in a third-set tie-break.
Then, Nadal suffered a three-set defeat versus eventual Madrid champion Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal thought his Madrid was solid. “I have done what I could. I have had better days, worse days. But it has not been a disaster in any case.
I think that I have competed with the correct attitude. I have played two, two-and-a-half hours, nearly three, I think three matches, this is a positive outcome,” Nadal said. Nadal is now set for Rome, where he is hoping to make a strong run ahead of the French Open.