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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rafa's had plenty of those already but managed to return stronger almost every time. Which do you think was(is) the most serious one and will he be able to return to his old level in 2022?

Let's take a look at his previous career slumps (I'll start with 2009)

2009 - early 2010, suffered a shock loss to Soderling in 2009 and seemed to carry an injury (probably the knee), missed WB, and lost easy in USO to Delpo. Was a shadow of himself in AO 10, losing to Murray. Went on to win 3 grand slams in 2010 and only Djoko's emergence prevented him from repeating it in 2011.
2012 - 13, shock defeat to Rosol at WB. Didn't play for the rest of the 2012 season, the injury seemed quite serious. Missed AO 2013, lost the final of a minor clay event in South America to a relatively unknown clay courter. Won IW and his reemergence began. Won 2 slams in 2013.
2014 - 2017, by far the worst career slump to date. After winning RG 2014 and looking spent physically he lost to Kyrgios at WB and then missed the USO. 2015 proved to be one of the worst seasons of his career. Had to withdraw from RG 2016 due to a wrist injury. His resurgence came in the AO 2017 final, which he lost, but won 2 slams that season.
2021 - , fell short at RG and lost a couple of tight matches to the young gen players, didn't play that much due to the pandemic. He's missed 2 slams in 2021 and will spend about 7 months off the court.
 

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Rafa's had plenty of those already but managed to return stronger almost every time. Which do you think was(is) the most serious one and will he be able to return to his old level in 2022?

Let's take a look at his previous career slumps (I'll start with 2009)

2009 - early 2010, suffered a shock loss to Soderling in 2009 and seemed to carry an injury (probably the knee), missed WB, and lost easy in USO to Delpo. Was a shadow of himself in AO 10, losing to Murray. Went on to win 3 grand slams in 2010 and only Djoko's emergence prevented him from repeating it in 2011.
2012 - 13, shock defeat to Rosol at WB. Didn't play for the rest of the 2012 season, the injury seemed quite serious. Missed AO 2013, lost the final of a minor clay event in South America to a relatively unknown clay courter. Won IW and his reemergence began. Won 2 slams in 2013.
2014 - 2017, by far the worst career slump to date. After winning RG 2014 and looking spent physically he lost to Kyrgios at WB and then missed the USO. 2015 proved to be one of the worst seasons of his career. Had to withdraw from RG 2016 due to a wrist injury. His resurgence came in the AO 2017 final, which he lost, but won 2 slams that season.
2021 - , fell short at RG and lost a couple of tight matches to the young gen players, didn't play that much due to the pandemic. He's missed 2 slams in 2021 and will spend about 7 months off the court.
He would be at a minimum of 25 slams without his injuries.
 

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2013 most impressive for sure. Regarding your second question: no, I think he's done winning slams.
If he's back 100% healthy from his latest injury he will be a contender for RG for the next 2-3 years. Also never counting him out from any other slam because he has much more variety in his game than all the players on tour. He will always be able to out smart them and get them out of their comfort zone with his spins, slices, angles, etc.
 

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Well I wouldn't be surprised if he wins one more French Open but the gap is tightening, other players are progressing fast and narrowing the gap. Even before the foot injury, Nadal didn't look great on clay this season, in comparison to his usual standards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If he's back 100% healthy from his latest injury he will be a contender for RG for the next 2-3 years. Also never counting him out from any other slam because he has much more variety in his game than all the players on tour. He will always be able to out smart them and get them out of their comfort zone with his spins, slices, angles, etc.
I don't think he was 100 percent healthy in 2014, maybe even 2018 but still won RG. Age is now a factor, though, his recovery will be longer and we don't know whether he'll be able to last in the long matches. We've seen this in the past few years, most of his losses off clay were due to his fitness issues when the match becomes long and physically demanding.
 

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I don't think he was 100 percent healthy in 2014, maybe even 2018 but still won RG. Age is now a factor, though, his recovery will be longer and we don't know whether he'll be able to last in the long matches. We've seen this in the past few years, most of his losses off clay were due to his fitness issues when the match becomes long and physically demanding.
If Federer can almost win Wimbledon in 2019 at 38, I think Nadal can still win RG for many years to come. He's just too above everyone on clay so it will take a big slump in fitness to be out of contention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I wouldn't be surprised if he wins one more French Open but the gap is tightening, other players are progressing fast and narrowing the gap. Even before the foot injury, Nadal didn't look great on clay this season, in comparison to his usual standards.
Not really. The competition exists only on HC. Young players can't adapt to clay and especially grass, we saw how Djokovic won both RG and WB on mental tenacity alone but couldn't do it in USO.
 

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Not really. The competition exists only on HC. Young players can't adapt to clay and especially grass, we saw how Djokovic won both RG and WB on mental tenacity alone but couldn't do it in USO.
Not true Tsitsipas would have beaten Djokovic at RG if not for his mental choking. The same for Shapovalov at Wimbledon. The only difference is that Medvedev at the USO has finally grown up and became mentally strong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Not true Tsitsipas would have beaten Djokovic at RG if not for his mental choking. The same for Shapovalov at Wimbledon. The only difference is that Medvedev at the USO has finally grown up and became mentally strong.
It also has to do with Djokovic putting pressure on them and rarely giving anything away. In the USO final, I saw him make a lot of errors he usually doesn't make in big matches. All the pressure was on him and Med already had experience in big matches, unlike Tsitsipas and Shapovalov.
 

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I thought he was finished after 2015, but he managed to adapt and bring new things to his game

2013 comeback was also amazing, from losing to Zeballos to sweeping the Us hard court season in a couple of months.

About 2022, he's obviously the favorite at Roland Garros. And i think he has a outside chance at WB if his body hold on until there. US and AO is more difficult, there is a lot of contenders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Grand slams not played by the big 3

Federer
9
AO 1 (2021)
RG 4 (2016 - 18; 2020)
WB 0
USO 3 (2016; 2020- 21)

*Federer decided to skip RG twice when he was not injured, 2017 - 2018.
He started missing slams around the age of 35/6.
He never missed his favorite slam, Wimbledon.

Nadal
13

AO 3 (2003, 2006, 2013)
RG 2 (2003 - 04)
WB 4 (2004, 2009, 2016, 2021)
USO 4 (2012, 2014, 2020 - 21)

Was missing slams since early in his career due to injuries.
Missed slams where he was the defending champion multiple times.

Djokovic
1

USO 2017
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Never injured on clay, nice. Career "slumps" they say.
You have to be the worst troll I've ever seen here recently;. He was often injured on clay, unlike Federer who never skipped WB but was skipping RG when not even injured. Try harder
 

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Not really. The competition exists only on HC. Young players can't adapt to clay and especially grass, we saw how Djokovic won both RG and WB on mental tenacity alone but couldn't do it in USO.
I'd argue both clay and HC have good fields.

Djokovic was just one set from losing at RG as well on multiple occasions.

Only grass seems weakish but still guys like Zverev Shapovalov Medvedev did much better this year
 

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Think it will be much tougher for Rafa rot return to his top form next year when he'll be hitting 36.

But still, health permitting and no injuries, he should be the clear heavy favourite for RG.
 
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