Nadal will be hoping he can begin 2023 as he did in 2022. The Spaniard prevailed in the opening two Grand Slams of this year, as he followed up his success in Melbourne with victory at the French Open.
Roger Federer’s retirement from tennis marks an end of an era in the sport. The 20-time Grand Slam singles winner is considered by many people to be the greatest player to grace a court. His exit now turns attention to two of his greatest rivals, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic and Nadal are neck-to-neck in the singles Grand Slam tally. The Serbian has won it 21 times compared to the Spaniard’s 22. They go into 2023 in a fascinating battle to establish their dominance in Grand Slams. The Australian Open in Melbourne at the start of the new year will be their next opportunity to do that.
The former world number ones have had some excellent battles over the last few years. One of them came in the 2021 French Open quarter-final, which according to this ExpressVPN article, was one of the most streamed sports events between August 2021 and September 2022. Djokovic won that contest and went on to prevail in the final in Paris.
Although 2021 was a mixed year for Djokovic, he did show his class to win his 21st Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, beating Nick Kyrgios in four sets in the final game of the tournament. That was his seventh victory on the grass at SW19.
The seven-time ATP Player of the Year is now 35 years old. He remains in excellent condition and has shown no signs of slowing down. The Serbian holds the record for the most wins at the Australian Open with nine victories. His last defeat at the tournament came in 2018 when he lost to Hyeon Chung in the last 16.
Djokovic has dropped down to number seven in the ATP world rankings. Due to his results at the Major Championship, that is unlikely to impact his seeding too much at those events. However, the challengers to his crown now extend beyond Nadal, as in 2022, six different players reached a Grand Slam singles final, showcasing how competitive the men’s game now is.
Reigning Australian Open champion Nadal will be hoping he can begin 2023 as he did in 2022. The Spaniard prevailed in the opening two Grand Slams of this year, as he followed up his success in Melbourne with victory at the French Open. The King of Clay extended his record in Paris to 14 wins.
Nadal will still aspire to win more titles in 2022. He will feature in the Laver Cup in London and the ATP World Tour Finals in Turin, an event he has reached the final of twice but has yet to win.
The 36-year-old will then have a break before he prepares for next season. With such a strong record in the French Open, that is the tournament he is likely to be looking forward to the most. He has a winning record over Djokovic at Roland-Garros, despite the defeat to his rivals in 2021.
It remains to be seen who will end their career with the most Grand Slam titles, however, one thing is for sure, the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic era has been the best in tennis history. We may never see such a strong standard from three players in the same period again.