You are currently viewing 10 BURNING QUESTIONS IN 2022: CAN WE EXPECT A RAFAEL NADAL REBOUND?

10 BURNING QUESTIONS IN 2022: CAN WE EXPECT A RAFAEL NADAL REBOUND?

Every May, Rafael Nadal is a pundit’s nightmare. Predicting the winners of Grand Slam tournaments is a staple of the media diet, but over the past decade-plus it has become an exercise comparable to choir practice,

with the same voices singing the same tune about Nadal dominating the French Open field, over and over. You could get a livelier discussion by asking a panel of experts if the sun was going to rise the following morning.

Jimmy Arias, the estimable Tennis Channel commentator, is an original thinker who doesn’t always subscribe to conventional wisdom. He has seen, or thought he’s seen, “cracks in the (Nadal) armor.” He has been more reluctant than many of his peers to concede the annual title to Nadal. But, he told me recently, “Nadal proved me wrong every time. For a few years, there’s been this feeling like he’s on the verge of being beatable—but then he gets to Roland Garros and he wins it.”

It was business as usual in the bureau of punditry in 2021 but, lo and behold, Nadal was upset in the semifinals by hard-charging, No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic. The Serbian star not only won the event, he would fall just one match win short of becoming just the third man in tennis history to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Did Djokovic’s triumph herald the end of the era ruled by the “King of Clay”?

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