Rafael Nadal once opened up about his journey to overcoming injury struggles and expressed his aspirations to remain on tour for many more years to come.
Nadal’s 2012 season took an unfortunate turn after his record seventh French Open title win, as he registered a sharp decline in his performance. Following a shock second-round defeat at the Wimbledon Championships, the Spaniard suffered from knee tendinitis, which forced his withdrawal from several key events such as the London Olympics, the Masters 1000 events in Canada and Cincinnati, as well as the US Open, culminating in an early end to his season.
Despite concerns about his ability to make a successful comeback in 2013, a resurgent Nadal won the Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells, Madrid, and Rome, breaking back into the top four of the ATP rankings.
The Spaniard’s dominance continued with an eighth Roland Garros title and a hugely successful run during the US Open series, triumphing at the Canada Masters and the Cincinnati Masters, before winning his second title at the New York Major. He then secured a runner-up finish at the China Open, reclaiming the World No. 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic.
During his campaign at the Shanghai Masters, Rafael Nadal candidly discussed his journey back to health, revealing that his team had explored several solutions to enable him to play freely on his return.
When asked whether he had confidence in having learned to manage his injuries effectively for the future of his career, the Spaniard expressed hope. He also addressed the concerns about his playing style potentially cutting his career short, emphasizing his determination to compete for many more years to come.
“I don’t know. I hope yes because in the end, you know, for the last five years, seems like lot of people talking like I will not be able to play long the way that I play. But I am here again with 27 years old ‑ and a half almost (smiling) ‑ and I really hope to have the chance to be here for a lot of more years,” Nadal said in October 2013.
Having missed the 2012 London Olympics due to his knee injury, the 2008 men’s singles gold medalist highlighted his strong desire to take part in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“So still in my mind Olympics in Brazil. Is something I really want to arrive there in good conditions. Is a real goal for me. If that’s a goal for me, remain a long time to arrive there, so I’m gonna try,” he added.
Looking back at Rafael Nadal’s campaign at Shanghai Masters 2013
Rafael Nadal entered the 2013 Shanghai Masters as the second seed, on the hunt for his sixth ATP Masters 1000 title of the year. Following a first-round bye, he kicked off his campaign with a dominant 6-3, 6-2 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov.
The Spaniard then defeated Carlos Berlocq 6-1, 7-6(5) to reach the quarterfinals of the Masters 1000 event. Subsequently, he triumphed over eighth seed Stan Wawrinka 7-6(10), 6-1 to set up a blockbuster semifinal clash against Juan Martin del Potro.
Del Potro delivered a commanding performance in the semifinal, defeating Nadal 6-2, 6-4 to reach the final. Novak Djokovic emerged victorious against the Argentine in the title clash, winning 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(3).