Rafael Nadal has conceded that he doesn’t know if he will ever get back to his best after an injury-rocked 2022.
Despite adding another two Grand Slams to his tally this year the second half of the season has been marred by repeated injury setbacks for Nadal.
He has now suffered four successive losses in competitive matches after his defeat to Felix Auger-Aliassime in Turin.
“I don’t think I forget how to play tennis, how to be strong enough mentally,” he said after the loss.
“I just need to recover all these positive feelings and all this confidence and all this strong mentality that I need to be at the level that I want to be. And I don’t know if I am going to reach that level again. But what I don’t have any doubt about, that I’m going to die for it.
“What can I do to give myself positive chances to have a good season next year? As always, be humble enough to accept that I have a challenge in front [of me], that the last six months have been very difficult for me, and I need to work more and I need to recover things that I lost because I was not able to practise the proper way, I was not able to compete the proper way.
“What I have to do now is come back, work hard, stay positive every single day, accept the challenge, accept that I am going to need to suffer a little bit more. If I will be ready to go through all this process, we are going to know in a couple of months if I have the determination going through that.”
Nadal has suffered defeats to a handful of young players this season and says that he is finding it hard to keep up with the new generation in terms of playing tournaments.
He doesn’t feel that his two Slam wins categorise his season as a success.
“Winning two Slams was not enough,” Nadal said.
“Of course, was not enough because I was not able to play. I don’t know how many tournaments I played, 10, 11, maybe 12. Finished maybe nine, 10, in good conditions.
“It’s difficult comparing and fighting against the young guys that they are super good, and at the same time they are able to play as many tournaments as they want, no? Is normal they are in the situation I was, like, 15 years ago.”
Nadal will conclude his ATP Finals group stage with a match against Casper Ruud but might be out of the running for the last four by that time.
If Ruud can take at least a set off Taylor Fritz on Tuesday evening, Nadal will be unable to gain the semi-finals.
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