Rafael Nadal wrapped up the season inside the top-2 at 36. The Spaniard claimed two Major titles in 2022 and became the leader of the chart with 22 Major crowns by his name. Despite setbacks with injuries, Nadal won four titles this year, achieving the milestone 90th and hoping to chase the 100th in the next couple of years.
The Spaniard finished his official duties at the ATP Finals, losing four straight matches for the first time in 13 years before beating Casper Ruud to wrap up the season with a win. Nadal ousted Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the Roland Garros final in June, the first for the Norwegian at Majors.
Casper passed his good friend on the ATP ranking list after the US Open, battling with Carlos Alcaraz for the ATP throne but finishing on the losing side in his second Major final. Casper will wrap up the season inside the top-3 for the first time, following Carlos Alcaraz and Nadal and hoping to pass them in the upcoming year.
Nadal and Ruud did not have time to enjoy the off-season after Turin, embracing the plain and traveling to Buenos Aires for their first exhibition match in South America. Rafa and Casper kicked off their tour in front of the packed stadium, with Nadal scoring a 7-6, 6-2 triumph in his first match in Argentina since 2016.
Ruud grabbed the first break in the opener’s fifth game and held in the next one for 4-2. Nadal held in game seven and came from 30-0 down in the next one to pull the break back and gain confidence. Casper denied a set point on serve in game ten to extend the battle and reach a tie break.
Rafa claimed it 10-8 after an excellent point for a massive boost ahead of set number two. The Spaniard built an early advantage and forged a 4-1 lead with another break on his tally. Nadal moved 5-1 up, and Ruud served to stay in the match in game seven.
The Norwegian did a fine job, and the Spaniard served for the victory at 5-2. At 15-0 in game eight, Rafa blasted a jumping forehand down the line winner, firing one of his fastest forehands in a career, as the spectators could barely see the ball!
Nadal held at love to emerge at the top and celebrate the win ahead of their second duel in Chile in two days.