Sunday, Jun 04, 2023

Rafael Nadal’s Career Timeline Is Filled With Wins, Losses, Rivalries And Injuries

Rafael Nadal’s Career Timeline Is Filled With Wins, Losses, Rivalries And Injuries

The owner of 14 titles in Paris and 22 Grand Slam trophies overall announced Thursday that a bad hip will force him to skip the trip to Roland Garros for the first time since making his tournament debut in 2005.

Nadal celebrates his 2022 Roland Garros title win after defeating Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.
Nadal celebrates his 2022 Roland Garros title win after defeating Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0. AP

Since winning the French Open the first time he entered in 2005, Rafael Nadal had never missed his favorite tournament until now. The owner of 14 titles in Paris and 22 Grand Slam trophies overall announced Thursday that a bad hip will force him to skip the trip to Roland Garros. (More Tennis News)

Here is a look at the victories, losses, rivalries and injuries that have marked the 36-year-old Spaniard’s career:


At 15 years, 10 months, earned first ATP match win in hometown of Mallorca.


Reached third round in Wimbledon debut at 17, youngest man to get that far at the All England Club since Boris Becker was 16 in 1984.


Beat then-No. 1 Roger Federer in Miami. Won first ATP title in Sopot, Poland, on clay. Defeated Andy Roddick to help Spain top the United States and win the Davis Cup.


Won title in French Open debut; 11 trophies for the year were most in a season for a teenager in ATP history. Moved into top 10 in April; remained there until 2023. Finished the year ranked No. 2.


Earned second French Open title, beating Federer in the final, before losing rematch in Wimbledon final. Stretched clay winning streak to record 62 matches.


Third consecutive French Open title came via another victory over Federer — and, once more, Federer beat him in the Wimbledon final. Clay winning streak reached 81 matches before loss to Federer at Hamburg, Germany.


Topped Federer in Roland Garros final for fourth straight trophy there; first man since Bjorn Borg in 1978-81 with that long a streak in Paris — and first since Borg to win the title without dropping a set. Met Federer in the final at the All England Club, but this time won 9-7 in the fifth set in fading light. Won Beijing Olympics gold; reached Australian Open and U.S. Open semifinals. Ended the year ranked No. 1. Dealt with tendinitis in right knee.


Won first Australian Open title, defeating Federer in a five-set final, after edging Fernando Verdasco in a five-set semifinal. His 31-match unbeaten run at the French Open ended with a fourth-round loss to Robin Soderling. Nadal was troubled by knee tendinitis and sat out Wimbledon. Dealing with an abdominal issue, reached the U.S. Open semifinals before losing to champion Juan Martin del Potro.


Stopped during Australian Open quarterfinal because of an injured right knee, but returned to top form at the French Open: He won his fifth title in Paris and didn’t drop a set, beating Soderling in the final. Won Wimbledon for the second time, then completed career Grand Slam by beating Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open final. Finished the year ranked No. 1.


Hurt left leg muscle at the Australian Open, but was fine by the French Open and tied Borg’s career mark for men with a sixth championship, beating Federer in the final. Nadal lost seven of 10 finals that season, with six of those setbacks against Djokovic, including at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.


Beat Djokovic for seventh French Open title. At Wimbledon, lost to Lukas Rosol in the second round while hampered by a left knee problem that kept him out for the rest of the season.


After seven months off the tour because of his left knee and a stomach virus, put together a 10-title season that put him back at No. 1. Won eighth French Open and second U.S. Open (beating Djokovic in the final), raising Grand Slam total to 13, trailing only Pete Sampras (14) and Federer (17).


Pulled even with Sampras by adding French Open title No. 9, beating Djokovic in the final. Lost to 144th-ranked Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round at Wimbledon, then missed three months with a bad right wrist. After returning, sat out two events because of an appendicitis.


Lost to Djokovic in French Open quarterfinals; bowed out at that stage or earlier at other three majors, ending 10-year run with at least one Grand Slam trophy.


For first time since 2004, did not reach any Grand Slam quarterfinals. Lost in Australian Open’s first round; withdrew from French Open before third round because of injured left wrist and was out of action for months.


After losing Australian Open final in five sets to Federer, returned to dominance at the French Open, dropping 35 games through seven matches en route to his 10th title, beating Stan Wawrinka in the final. Added third U.S. Open trophy — his 16th major moved him within one of Federer — and finished at No. 1 in the rankings for the fourth time.


Won 11th championship at Roland Garros. Stopped playing two Grand Slam matches elsewhere because of injuries and skipped other tournaments with knee, hip and abdomen issues.


French Open title No. 12 and U.S. Open title No. 4 arrived, as did a return to No. 1 at age 33. Lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open final, to Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals. Was troubled by thigh, knee, left hand and abdominal problems at various points.


Pulled even with Federer with 20 Slam trophies with a 13th title at the French Open, defeating Djokovic in the final. Won multiple titles in a season for 16th consecutive year.


Blew two-set lead against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarterfinals, then lost to Djokovic in the French Open semifinals. Played only two matches the rest of the year because of chronic pain in his left foot.


Moved into sole possession of the record for most Grand Slam singles titles, one ahead of Federer, by claiming No. 21 at the Australian Open, coming back to beat Daniil Medvedev after dropping the first two sets. Got No. 22 at the French Open, where he overcame what he said was debilitating pain in his left foot to lift the trophy for the 14th time by beating Casper Ruud in the final. That made Nadal, at 36, the oldest champion in tournament history and improved his career record at the clay-court major to 112-3. Pulled out of Wimbledon before semifinals because of torn abdominal muscle; lost in the fourth round of the U.S. Open to Frances Tiafoe.


Lost in the second round of the Australian Open to Mackenzie McDonald while dealing with a left hip flexor injury. It’s Nadal’s earliest Grand Slam loss in seven years. That dropped his season record to 1-3. He hasn’t competed since.


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