Rafael Nadal Explains Retirement Uncertainty In 2024

Rafael Nadal Explains Retirement Uncertainty In 2024

by Nurein Ahmed

Rafael Nadal has issued a disclaimer when talking about his possible retirement in 2024 because he cannot assuredly predict the future.

Nadal, currently in Brisbane as a wild card, played his first match in a year on a doubles court on Sunday alongside countryman Marc Lopez but could not keep out the energetic pair of Jordan Thomspon and Max Purcell, who were playing on home soil.

The 37-year-old's first singles match will take place on Tuesday. After a long and anxious wait, his first-round opponent will be Dominic Thiem - a familiar foe who has previously faced him in two French Open finals but has fallen from grace in recent years and needed to qualify for the event.

When Nadal delivered that exclusive press conference on the eve of last year's Roland Garros to shut down his season because of a hip injury, he asserted that he intended to have surgery and play a farewell season in 2024.

But since his recovery from a career-threatening injury and looking extremely competitive in practice, he has been very optimistic about his long-term future, even entertaining the possibility of playing beyond this season. He has since explained why he has retracted from his original decision.

"The problem about saying that's going to be my last season is I can't predict what's going on 100% on the future. That's the thing. That's why I say 'probably'."

"It's obvious that it's a high percentage that's going to be my last time playing here in Australia. But if I am here next year, don't tell me, You said going to be your last season, because I didn't say it (smiling). I just say have been an important percentage."

While Nadal's mindset has always been to win all the most important tournaments in the sport, it is certainly the first time in his life that he is not prioritizing that. Instead, he will maximize his time by enjoying what he does and remaining competitive.

The future remains anyone's guess, and even the 22-time Grand Slam champion does not know how his body will respond to the demands of playing multiple tournaments within six months. It's wise that he has not conclusively made any premature statements.

"You never know what's going on, you know? I can't predict how I going to be in the next six months. I can't predict if my body will allow me to enjoy tennis as much as I enjoyed the past 20 years. I don't know if my body will allow me to be competitive."

"I mean, not in a way to win the most important events, but the way that makes me happy, feel myself competitive to go on court and to feel that I can compete against anyone. Doesn't matter at the end of the day if I win or don't. If I have that feelings."

"You never know what's my approach because at the end I went through a lot to be back on a tennis court. It's not an easy decision, but I know inside myself that is a high percentage it's going to be my last one."


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