Rafael Nadal’s thoughts on Calendar Grand Slam explained ahead of Wimbledon return

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Rafael Nadal’s coach has revealed that the Spaniard is not thinking about the Calendar Grand Slam despite being closer than ever before. The world No 4 will be playing at Wimbledon for the first time in three years after successful treatment on his chronic foot injury.

Nadal has started the season by winning the first two Grand Slam tournaments for the first time in his career, breaking the record for most men’s singles Major titles by picking up his 21st and 22nd at the Australian Open and Roland Garros respectively. The Spaniard has since confirmed his return to Wimbledon following a successful radiofrequency procedure to dull the pain caused by his chronic foot injury.

It means the 36-year-old is in contention for the Calendar Grand Slam for the first time in his career – a year after long-time rival Novak Djokovic bid to win all four Majors in the same year when he picked up titles in Australia, France and Wimbledon before losing in the US Open final. But according to Carlos Moya, the achievement isn’t something Nadal is considering.

“I don’t think he feels like winning the Calendar Slam, it’s not on his mind,” the former world No 1 who now coaches his fellow Spaniard told Eurosport, speaking ahead of Nadal’s first match at Wimbledon since the 2019 semi-final. “He is just going there to practise from the first day, get ready, and probably have the best chance he can for the first round. This is his only goal.”

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While Nadal wasn’t thinking about it, his coach acknowledged that it was possible. “It’s a realistic goal. Right now he’s the only player that can get it this year and it’s the first time in his career that he has the chance to do it,” he admitted.

“But we see it far away, we are halfway through still. Right now it doesn’t preoccupy him, as a team very few things do and this isn’t one of them. We go slowly, it’s not something we talk about. It’s not a primary objective but we are not gonna give up on it either.”

Moya also claimed his charge was being “realistic” after three years away from the surface and two recent rounds of radiotherapy treatment on his foot. He continued: “Then he will go little by little. This is why Rafa deals very well with these kinds of situations because he knows where he is and he just goes for it, just being realistic.”

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The 1998 French Open champion also said he thought the world No 4 was the only man who was able to be so successful after injury, as Nadal won the Australian Open following a six-month layoff and a medical procedure on his troublesome foot. He then picked up a rib injury in Indian Wells this year and was once again plagued by his foot when he returned on the clay.

But less than a month after limping off court at the Italian Open, he was a champion for the 14th time at the French Open. “I feel like 2022 for Rafa, it’s a miracle, since the very beginning of the year,” Moya said.

“After winning the first tournament, then the first Slam, he then got hurt again and he didn’t have that much time for preparation for Roland Garros. He then ended up winning, and one week later, or two weeks later, I thought, ‘okay, maybe he needs time to rest, he needs time to recover’. Again, now, he is ready to go and try to play at Wimbledon. I feel like only Rafa can do that, honestly, because all the ups and downs physically that he had he overcame them. It shows how humble he is, and how much desire he has to keep on going.”

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