Rafael Nadal announces end to 2021 season through injury
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Rafael Nadal has reached a huge milestone in his career, despite currently being sidelined with an ongoing injury. As of Thursda), the Spaniard has recorded 6,000 consecutive days in the world’s top ten, having reached the upper echelons of the rankings on April 25, 2005.
Nadal ended his 2021 season ahead of the US Open, having barely played since suffering a shock semi-final loss at Roland Garros.
The world No 6 then withdrew from Wimbledon and the Olympics, later revealing he had aggravated a left foot injury during the clay-court Grand Slam, and was looking to return during the North American hard court swing.
He then played the ATP 500 in Washington for the first time in his career, winning one tight three-setter and losing another, and travelled to Canada for the Toronto Masters before pulling out ahead of his opening match and flying home to consult with his personal doctor.
The Spaniard later took to social media to announce he had made the decision to shut down his season and withdraw from the US Open, looking to give his left foot the time to rest and recover properly, and underwent a “medical procedure”.
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Despite winning just one match since June and ending his season, the 20-time Grand Slam champion has remained in the top ten throughout his injury problems, not only in 2021 but throughout his career.
Nadal has now reached an incredible milestone, sitting in the world’s top ten for 6,000 consecutive days, failing to drop outside of the elite spot in the rankings since he first entered the top ten as an 18-year-old on April 25 2005.
It’s a momumental feat for any player, but especially given the injury woes the Spaniard has faced during his career.
In recent years, the former world No 1 has been forced to end his 2016 season early with a wrist injury, and played just eight tournaments in 2018 after suffering with hip, knee, abdominal and ankle injuries, retiring of withdrawing from the likes of the Australian Open, US Open, the Masters 1000 events in Cincinnati, Shanghai and Paris, and the year-end ATP Finals.
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In 2019, the 35-year-old also withdrew from Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Paris with injuries, having reached the semi-final stages of both.
Despite dealing with injury niggles, he won two Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and the US Open, and Masters 1000 titles in Rome and Montreal, helping him nab the year-end world No 1 ranking.
Nadal will now be hoping to remain in the world’s top ten until he can return to the tour in 2022, and in true Nadal-fashion will look to contend for big titles despite suffering with injuries.
Announcing the end to his 2021 season last month, the Spaniard sounded motivated to give himself the best chance to remain on tour for several years, meaning he will look to extend his 6000-day streak in the top ten.
“It’s a year that I’ve missed things that matter a lot to me, like Wimbledon, like the Olympics how the United States Open is going to be now, like many other events that are also important to me and in view of the fact that during this last year I have not had the ability to train and prepare and compete in the way that I really like do it to find a solution to this problem or at least improve it in order to continue to have options for the next few years,” he said, announcing he would be out until 2022.
“I am with the maximum enthusiasm and predisposition to do whatever it takes to recover the best possible form to keep competing for the things that really motivate me and the things that he’s done all these years.
“I am convinced that with the recovery of the foot and obviously a very important daily effort because this can be achieved I will work as hard as I can to make it happen.”
Despite struggling with injuries this year, it seems Nadal is already eyeing tournaments for 2022, having asked long-time rival and friend Roger Federer to team up with him in doubles at next year’s Laver Cup.
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