Rafael Nadal, a real national treasure of Spain, has once more received recognition from the Spanish government, this time from Felipe VI, the King of Spain. In appreciation for his efforts, the latter gave Rafa the Camino Real honor and praised him for being a superb representative of his nation.
The King of Clay, however, did not forget to pay tribute to the legendary Roger Federer, with whom he lost in the first round of the ongoing Laver Cup, while also expressing his desire for success in the upcoming Grand Slams.
Why did Rafael Nadal express his desire for more trophies?
For eight months, Rafael Nadal has been at the top of the ATP Race. Due to a foot ailment, Rafa missed the second part of last year. He returned better in early 2022. In the Australian Open final, Nadal overcame Daniil Medvedev after falling behind 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, and 40-0 to win in five sets in five hours and 24 minutes.
By doing so, the Spaniard won the Australian Open for the first time in 13 years and briefly ascended to the peak of the ATP rankings. Rafa won the ATP 500 in Acapulco after defeating Daniil and Norrie, maintaining his perfect record in 2022 and positioning himself as the favorite for Indian Wells.
Nadal missed Barcelona and Monte Carlo because of a fractured rib and was unable to accomplish well against Taylor Fritz in the championship match. He also lost for the first time this year. The Spaniard struggled to perform his best tennis upon his return in Madrid and Rome due to a foot issue, which cast doubt over his readiness for Roland Garros.
The Spaniard was a player to defeat in Paris just like he had been so many previous times, getting shots before every match and taking out seven opponents to win his 22nd Major championship. Rafa won his 14th Roland Garros title after defeating Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, and Casper Ruud. He also cemented his position as the No. 1 player in the ATP Race.
With no chances for the Wimbledon semifinal, Nadal was forced to leave London with a stomach ailment that put his entire hard-court tour in jeopardy and he missed Montreal and lost to Borna Coric right away in Cincinnati.
Nadal, moved by the Royal honor, used the occasion to make a rather direct statement regarding the remainder of his career path where he divulged, “The year has been complicated. Beyond injuries, also because of family and personal news, which in this case is very good news.”