Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz top the ATP rankings in 2022. Besides having a successful campaign this year, both players have shown their class in terms of character, integrity, and sportsmanship. As a result, they have been nominated for the 2022 ATP Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.
Cameron Norrie, Casper Ruud, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Frances Tiafoe, Grigor Dimitrov, Hubert Hurkacz, Lorenzo Musetti, Matteo Berrettini, and Maxime Cressy are the other nominees for the award.
While five players from the top 10 find their place among the nominees, World No. 5 Novak Djokovic does not feature on the list. The Serbian received criticism for his off-field decisions this year as that might have contributed to the exclusion of his name among the nominees.
Djokovic finished the season on a strong note, winning the ATP Finals title in Turin after finishing as the runner-up at the Paris Masters. The 35-year-old has never won the Stefan Edberg award during his career and that record will remain unchanged this year as well.
Nadal and Alcaraz, who are leading the race for the ATP Sportsmanship Award, endured rough endings to their respective seasons. The former was knocked out of the 2022 ATP Finals in the group stage, whereas the latter had to withdraw from the year-ending championship owing to an abdominal injury.
The veteran Spaniard has won the award for four consecutive years since 2018 and will be hoping to make it five in 2022.
"If he's got it and he's thriving in his body, he can be the best" - Sportswriter Chris Oddo on how Rafael Nadal can excel in 2023
Rafael Nadal's recent results at the ATP Finals and Paris Masters reflect the struggles he is currently facing. With injuries hindering him, he has failed to step up to his usual form.
On a recent episode of the Tennis Channel Inside-In podcast, sportswriter Chris Oddo stated that proper fitness can help Nadal easily achieve his targets in 2023. Despite the 36-year-old producing sub-standard performances, Oddo believes that the current drop in performance of the 22-time Grand Slam champion is just a repercussion of the off-field issues.
"If Rafa can find a way to get that diesel engine going and get to peak fitness where he's comfortable with the surface, where he's going to be playing, he gets a little bit of a lead-up, his body's not giving him issues, if he peaks, he can beat anybody and do the damage, Odd said.
"He can do that again next year. I think it's going to be harder for him to sign that peak fitness but if he's got it and he's thriving in his body, he can be the best," he added.