Tennis Prose




Jun/22

22

Could Rafael Nadal Win a Grand Slam in 2022?

Nadal is on course to win all four major titles this year.

Rafael Nadal has already won the Australian Open and the French Open. Could the Spaniard complete the set and claim a Grand Slam in 2022? Read on to find out

Is this the Year for Rafa Nadal?

Rafael Nadal has now won the Australian Open and the French Open men’s singles titles this year. That s halfway through what would become a Grand Slam. The odds are against the Spaniard achieving that, with sportsbooks such as MyBookie, favoring others to win at Wimbledon this summer.

But Nadal has surprised a lot of people, simply by coming back from injury to win more titles. With Novak Djokovic potentially unable to play in the US, could this be the best – and last – chance for Nadal to win a Grand Slam?

The Year So Far

Some might say that it has been more by luck than actually dominating men’s tennis this year, but Rafael Nadal has won both the Australian Open and the French Open, as well as the Melbourne Summer Set 1 and the Mexican Open as well. It is fair to say that 2022 has been good so far.

There have been injuries though, as well as some early exits in a number of other tournaments. But none of that has put Nadal fans off the idea that he could become only the third male player ever to win all Grand Slam events in a calendar year. But is that possible?

Chances at Wimbledon

Most tennis fans will point to Nadal’s struggles on grass as a reason why he will fail to win at Wimbledon – and end the chances of a true Grand Slam. It is true that Nadal has always found the clay of Roland Garros a more natural home for his style of tennis.

The hard courts of Flushing Meadows have also been more conducive to Nadal’s play. But he has won just as many Wimbledon titles as he has Australian Opens – and he triumphed down under at the start of the year. Nadal will not be the favorite to win Wimbledon, but he still has a very good chance.

US Open More Likely

If Nadal can somehow win Wimbledon, then the final piece of the jigsaw looks more straightforward – on paper. Due to Wimbledon rules, Novak Djokovic will be playing in London. But if Nadal does get past the Serbian superstar, then following up that title with one at the US Open should be easier.

For a start, it is still unclear whether Djokovic will be able to compete due to his vaccination status. Daniil Medvedev will probably also miss out because of the war in Ukraine. So, that is already two of Nadal’s closest challengers out of the frame. Actually winning the tournament is still far from guaranteed – but claiming the US Open is not a long shot.

36 year old Nadal has already won the US Open four times – 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019.

Non-Calendar Grand Slams

Only two men’s players have ever claimed the Grand Slam in tennis. Don Budge was the first back in 1938 – and Australian Rod Laver managed the feat twice, in 1962 and 1969. But there is the non-calendar Grand Slam as well. It is more of an unofficial title, but holding all four majors titles at one time is the criterion here.

Nadal was actually on the verge of claiming it back in 2011, but failed to add the 2011 Australian Open to his three titles in 2010. Djokovic is still the only men’s singles player ever to achieve a non-calendar Grand Slam, winning all four titles across 2015 and 2016.

Best of All Time?

There is an argument to be made that Rafael Nadal is the greatest men’s singles player of all time. There are obviously plenty of other players that could be put forward – but it is Nadal that has won the most Grand Slam titles, after the Australian and French Open triumphs this year.

Those put him two clear of both Djokovic and Roger Federer. The latter’s injury problems may mean that he never adds to his tally – and Djokovic’s medical status at the current time could continue to impact his chances too. If Nadal does win the two remaining majors this year he could legitimately claim to be the best ever.

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