Rafael Nadal will look to make a strong return to the tour in 2022 after his 2021 campaign ended prematurely due to a foot injury. The Spaniard has battled with the injury since 2005, and it flared up again during his semi-final defeat against Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros.
In a recent interview, Rafael Nadal's former coach and uncle Toni Nadal issued an update on the Spaniard's condition. The 60-year-old said he is confident his nephew will be in prime condition come the 2022 Australian Open.
"Things are going better," Toni Nadal was quoted as saying by Antena 2. "He (Rafael Nadal) is proposed to start in Australia. It will be fine. I am convinced. The idea is to have a great year in 2022. He will put all his efforts into that."
Nadal suffers from the 'Muller-Weis' syndrome, a rare disease in which progressive fragmentation of the bone in the foot causes immense pain and leads to deformity.
The Spaniard has won 20 Grand Slam titles over the course of his career while dealing with the injury, despite doctors at one time fearing he could never have a professional career.
Even Novak Djokovic is not immune to pressure: Rafael Nadal's uncle Toni on US Open final
During the course of the interview, Toni Nadal also spoke about the 2021 US Open final between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. The Serb was one match away from completing the Calendar Slam, but capitulated in stunning fashion and was beaten by the World No. 2 in straight sets.
According to Toni Nadal, even a player of the stature of Djokovic can be crippled by the pressure of a Grand Slam final.
"Undoubtedly the No. 2 in the world can beat him (Djokovic)," Toni Nadal said. "Although he is a great player, he is also under pressure and in the final match the pressure could have beaten him."
Djokovic's loss also means he is tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the top of the all-time Slam leaderboard with 20 Majors. The three will resume their battle for Grand Slam supremacy next season.