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We all remember that unbelievable comeback from Rafael Nadal last year in the Australian Open final. At two sets and a break down against Daniil Medvedev, Nadal demonstrated why he is one of the true greats of the game. Despite being outclassed for the better part of a set and a half, as well as looking dead on his feet, Nadal fought back and captured the 2022 Australian Open title.
This was one of the best comebacks that I’ve ever seen from Nadal throughout his career. And it set the stage for a pretty remarkable first half of the 2022 season. Following this victory, Rafael Nadal went on an incredible winning streak, which only ended when he failed to win Indian Wells. Fair to say, this wasn’t exactly a bad season for a guy who was already in his mid-late 30s!
However, despite this awesome start to the 2022 season, things didn’t exactly end very well for the Spaniard. Because of this, and due to my analysis of the start to his 2023 season, I dare say that his chances of winning the 2023 Australian Open are slim to none. Let me reveal the reasons for this conclusion below.
Nadal’s Chances at the 2023 Australian Open
Believe it or not, despite the 22 Grand Slam titles sitting in his locker, Nadal has only won the Australian Open twice. I know, it seems strange to say this in a negative sense, especially given how difficult it is to win just one Grand Slam tournament. Then again, this is Rafael Nadal we are talking about. So combined with Wimbledon, this is Nadal’s least successful Grand Slam out of the four.
With that in mind, it’s not just this fact that has prompted me to reach such a conclusion ahead of the Australian Open 2023. Instead, I’ve based this opinion on what I have seen from Nadal in recent months. And here are the two main points I wish to highlight:
Still Looks off the Pace
People may think I’m crazy for saying this, but since the arrival of his first child, Rafael Nadal has looked off the pace. I’m not saying that his newborn son is the reason for this, as that would be unfair. But what I am saying is that since he did become a father, he has looked more sluggish and less energized on the court.
The Last Seven Matches
Of course, for Rafael Nadal to have the reputation and status that he enjoys today, he has been a serial winner throughout his career. After all, that’s what the best guys do – they find a win to win no matter the situation. But since Nadal lost to Frances Tiafoe in the last 16 of the US Open in September, he has won just 1 of his last 7 matches, including this loss.
Not only is Nadal looking out of sorts and lacking in form, but we cannot forget about the guys he will have to beat to win in Melbourne. With guys like Djokovic still looking formidable, combined with the likes of Alcaraz, Medvedev, Sinner, Auger-Aliassime, and others in the draw, things aren’t looking great for the Spaniard.