Rafael Nadal won his first Australian Open title in 2009. He was a four-time defending champion when he reached Paris that year for the French Open. However, for the first time in his career, the Spaniard lost a match at Roland Garros to Sweden's Robin Soderling in the fourth round.
It took Nadal 13 years to add a second Australian Open trophy to his cabinet and this time, he didn't let history repeat itself as he won the French Open as well. Never before has the 22-time Grand Slam winner claimed the first two Slams of the year. He'll now have his sights set on winning a Calendar Slam, something that Novak Djokovic almost achieved last year.
However, tennis analyst and seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe argues that winning the 2022 Wimbledon Championships could be the most difficult task for Nadal.
"Rafa’s toughest one is going to be this one for me because if you go by what he said at the French Open, he was injecting himself on his foot during some, if not all of his matches. I can’t believe you decided not to do that. I’m not sure how he did it in the first place, and he’s still able to win seven matches and look incredible, right? The guy looked amazing," McEnroe said.
Speaking to the media, the former American player further revealed what he would do if he were in Nadal's shoes with regard to the Spaniard's chronic foot problem.
"If I’m 36, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to play, going for the Slam, I’d start shooting that foot up again and get through Wimbledon and the Open. That would be me. He may be able to play a few more years. He also talked about wanting to be able to walk when he has kids. That’s a risk that no athlete wants to take," said McEnroe.
Rafael Nadal is the 2nd seed at Wimbledon
Due to World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev and World No. 2 Alexander Zverev's absence from the grasscourt Major, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are the top two seeds this year. This means that the Serb and the Spaniard can only meet in the final of the tournament.
While Djokovic is hungry for his 21st Major title, Nadal will be looking to extend his Grand Slam lead and stay in the hunt for a Calendar Slam. After lifting his 14th Roland Garros title, Nadal underwent radiofrequency treatment on his left foot. The 36-year-old suffers from Mueller-Weiss syndrome, a degenerative condition that causes severe pain and deformity.
However, he recovered in time and arrived in London in search of a third Wimbledon title. Nadal has won at SW19 in 2008 as well as 2010. He outclassed Stan Wawrinka in an exhibition match at Hurlingham on Thursday, showing high levels of fitness.
What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here