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Tennis, Rafa Nadal in a state of grace: a true number 1 in 2022


Eightysix. For the first time in eighty-six weeks, Novak Djokovic is no longer number 1 in the world. The defeat to Jiri Vesely in the quarter-finals in Dubai was fatal for the Serbian tennis player, thus leaving room for Daniil Medvedev , who became the twenty-seventh man to hoist himself in first place since the introduction of the ranking. But the real protagonist of these two months of 2022 is only one, Rafa Nadal.

The southpaw from Manacor wrote another page of his fantastic career in Acapulco . Title number 91 arrived in Mexico (fourth overall in the special ranking), without losing a single set and achieving the singular record of being both the youngest player (2005) and the oldest to have won this tournament. Returning to his path, before Cameron Norrie in the last act, he also made Medvedev himself fall in front of him, beaten for the second time after the Australian Open final.

Two victories against today’s number 1 that certify how, in reality, the number 1 of this 2022 is Nadal, despite the fact that the ranking sees him as the fourth player in the world. It is not for nothing that the Iberian is over the top in the Race, which collects the results of the calendar year, at an altitude of 2750, points due to the three successes between the Australian Open, Melbourne and Acapulco in three tournaments played. Since his return to the field, the king of clay has a streak of 15 consecutive victories , and with three others he can hoist himself to third place in the longest streak of successes, overtaking in one fell swoop Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, however the owner of the two longest streak in history (26 in 2020 and 41 in 2011).

ATP ranking, Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini lose one position. But in a week …

A golden moment for Rafa, which frankly seemed impossible to achieve. We remember him in his last engagement last year, the semifinal of Roland Garros which saw him succumb to the distance with the Serbian: a game that saw for the first time the legendary physical endurance that made him great, net of constant improvements. technicians. Perhaps for the first time, it was he who reached the crucial moments of that challenge with a very short breath.

Nadal back on the field in this 2022 is much more careful in this sense. Taking into consideration the Australian Open, the matches with Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini have in common an aggressive attitude in the first two fractions and then live a moment of apparent calm, as if he were playing ‘energy saving’; the risk was to suffer the return of the opponents, but in both cases he placed the paw from the phenomenon that he is . As well as in the final with Medvedev, in which after a dormant first set, he looked like the 25-year-old after a battle for over five hours.

Nadal is experiencing a second youth, emulating a bit the 2017 of Roger Federer who, after a very difficult year, resurrected precisely by beating the Majorcan. Who is printing beautiful pages of tennis history, only with the will to entertain and have fun; and Djokovic, obsessed with records (of victories, weeks at the top, etc …) remains to look on the sidelines.