It was a Tennis365 headline that divided opinion in the tennis world, with the word ‘disgraceful’ rarely placed next to the name of the great Rafael Nadal.
Tennis great Andy Roddick is among those who have suggested this headline, warning that if Nadal is unable to recover from his injury to play in the French Open, he will be at the top of the ATP 100. Rafael Nadal has dropped down the pecking order after the French Open.
Incredibly, the story has been viewed tens of thousands of times around the world, and when Roddick made the comment after reading the headline on his Apple News feed, readers exploded.
— Andy Roddick (@andyroddick) May 1, 2023
While the word condescending is a little off-color, sitting next to one of the game’s all-time greats might seem wrong.
Nadal is set to go down as one of the greatest players in history, and his prowess on clay will make him the last champion on that surface.
His 22 Grand Slam titles are proof of brilliance and his place in the Tennis Hall of Fame was sealed long ago.
He is one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors and a genuine person on and off the court.
It would be a shocking event if falling out of the top 100 ATP rankings is his fate next month due to the above reasons.
This player has been unbeaten in the top 10 for an incredible 18 years, a run of 14 French Open titles as impressive as his play.
So while ‘humiliation’ might be better placed in an article about a fallen player in our greatest sport, it’s fitting to describe Nadal and her legions of fans around the world in a way they could never have imagined.
With an injury to his ambitions last year, Nadal fell a point short of the overall ranking when he won the French Open last June.
With his hopes of playing at Roland Garros this year in doubt following his withdrawal from the Italian Open this week, Nadal will need a miracle to get back to his best form and prepare for victory in the next two weeks. 15th time in Paris.
So even if he doesn’t lose all of his ranking points, he faces the possibility of falling lower in the rankings and not being seeded if he plays at Wimbledon, anything less than a run to the final.
However, tennis legend Chris Evert has warned that you can’t write off the game’s greats like Nadal and Novak Djokovic, saying such hazy predictions may be wrong.
«I’m not going to stop Rafa from winning the French Open when he’s 80,» Evert said at the Eurosport event.
«So I don’t dismiss them, but I feel their preparation is not good, but Novak and Rafa have great experience.
They may come out of the starting gate playing vintage tennis, but on current form you have to back Carlos Alcaraz a bit into the French Open.
Nadal’s positive progress has fueled speculation that he may miss the French Open for the first time in his career without confirmation of whether or not he will win the French Open playoffs. .
Read more: Rafael Nadal has fallen down the pecking order after the French Open