Rafael Nadal: 'I will die to achieve that'

‘I will die to achieve that’

Rafael Nadal will cherish everything he has achieved in 2022, claiming two Major titles and missing a chance to become world no. 1 at the US Open. Still, the 36-year-old is already thinking about the 2023 season after a bitter-sweet season, suffering four straight losses for the first time since 2009 and setting his eyes on a solid return in Australia in January.

Rafa came to the ATP Finals following an early Paris Masters loss, hoping to improve his game and get some rhythm in the season’s closing stages. Still, he lost matches to Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime and crushed the semi-final chances.

Nadal knows his level has dropped after missing a couple of months. Still, he looks eager to get it back in the following season, determined to give his everything to restore his A-game. Felix was the favorite against Rafa, and he beat a 22-time Major winner for the first time following a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 57 minutes.

The Canadian blasted 15 aces and defended all five break points to mount pressure on the other side. The Spaniard gave his best to stay in touch, but he could not follow the rival’s pace. Rafa lost serve away once in each set to propel the youngster over the finish line.

Rafael Nadal turns his focus onto the 2023 season.

Felix had a massive 31-16 advantage in service winners and built his victory in the shortest range up to four strokes. Nadal played better in the extended rallies, but he could not keep him safe until at least one tie break.

Auger-Aliassime dictated the pace with 29 winners and 23 unforced errors. Rafa failed to impose his serve or forehand, finishing the match with 12 winners and 19 unforced errors. Auger-Aliassime saved break points in two service games in the opener and grabbed a break in game eight for 6-3.

The Canadian clinched another break in the second set’s third game and controlled the scoreboard until the end for his first ATP Finals victory. “I have had a tough six months and have to accept that. It’s a positive thing to compete at the ATP Finals, after all, and that’s the main thing.

What has happened in the past couple of weeks is not a big surprise. I’m sad about the results, but it can happen. I have played two tournaments within three weeks, which is good, as I could not do that for a while. I did not forget to play tennis or how to be mentally strong.

I must recover the positive feelings and confidence to get back to the desired level. I do not know if I will reach that level again, but I will die and do everything to get there,” Rafael Nadal said.

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