Two tennis stars featured in 2022’s Time 100 released this week, with NFL legend Tom Brady and Chinese activist Lu Pin profiling Rafael Nadal and Peng Shuai, respectively.

Nadal broke new ground in the golden era of men’s tennis by becoming the first of his Big 3 cohorts to reach 21 major titles, surpassing Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at the 2022 Australian Open.

“I admire athletes who push themselves to the limit, and I’m absolutely inspired every time Rafa takes the court,” wrote Brady. “There’s something to be learned from watching his determination, his strategy, everything that it takes for him to never take any moment for granted. He’s forever going to be remembered as one of the very best athletes in all of sports.”

Peng made a rare public appearance at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Peng made a rare public appearance at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.


While Nadal prepares to compete at Roland Garros, Peng Shuai faces a more uncertain future after confessing her story of sexual assault from a top Chinese government official. The essay, initially posted to her Weibo social media page, caused an international incident when Peng disappeared online, making only sanctioned appearances like in Melbourne for the Australian Open or the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The WTA responded by pulling all events in China, including its Finals that had been scheduled to take place in Shenzhen.

“Her account has catapulted an unprecedented defense of women’s rights against authoritarian power,” said Lu before warning that, “her subsequent denial of her original claims suggests that she has not yet regained full autonomy—and may in fact be experiencing unspeakable cruelty.”