Rafael Nadal dropped major hint over retirement as star admitted: ‘You cannot keep going’ | Tennis | Sport
Rafael Nadal faces Italian Matteo Berrettini in the semi finals of the Australian Open. The Spaniard was able to progress to the final four after a tense victory over Canadian Denis Shapovalov. He is pursuing a record 21st Grand Slam title which would put him one ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. In the aftermath of the match, Shapovalov claimed Nadal gets “preferential treatment” from umpires.
He said: “I think it’s unfair how much Rafa is getting away with.
“I’m completely ready to play and the clock is ticking, clicking towards zero, and I’m looking at the umpire and obviously I’m going to speak up and say something.
“I’ve been ready to play for a minute and a half and he tells me he’s not going to give him a code violation because I’m not ready to play. To me, it’s a big joke.”
Nadal denied that he was given an advantage.
The Spanish star has already cemented himself as one of the all time greats, but many note that at 35 years old, he is reaching the twilight of his career.
In April last year, he discussed his potential retirement during an interview with the Metro.
He said: “I mean, I don’t think that’s… you can’t predict what’s going on in the future.
“Of course, I will not be playing until the age of 45, no? I am always trying to do things as best as possible to play as long as possible.
“As everybody knows, of course it’s going to arrive one day that you cannot keep going. For the moment, I’m happy with what I’m doing.
“I’m enjoying it and I hope to have the chance to keep around the tournaments for the next couple of years.”
Though Nadal made it clear that he relishes the opportunity to win more Grand Slams, he said a feasible goal was to maintain his French Open dominance for a few more years.
He went on to claim that Novak Djokovic is more concerned with his overall Grand Slam record.
Nadal added: “I enjoy what I am doing. I am happy playing tennis. Of course, I want to win more Slams, yes. No doubt about that.
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“But I never get – I mean, Novak is more obsessed about this, more focused… Not in a negative way. No, he’s more focused on just these things and it means a lot to him all of this stuff.
“Like he’s always saying and talking about these records and well done for him… but it’s not my approach to my tennis career.
“I have a healthy ambition. Of course, I am ambitious, if not I would never be in the position I am today but I have probably a different kind of ambition than him, for example.
“I just keep going, keep doing what I’m doing and just try to put myself in a position to keep enjoying the tour and, of course, try to achieve as much as possible.”
In October 2021, Nadal returned to the pressing question of his retirement, and noted that he still feels healthy, and hopes to continue competing for another few years.
Last month, former French Open finalist Alex Corretja backed Nadal to continue winning.
He said: “Rafa will retire being a winner, whatever happens.
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“No matter how he was before, he has to assess how he wants to face what he has left from now on, but being Rafa you always have the feeling that he still has a bullet in his chamber to do something great.
“You can never doubt special people like him, even if he comes from a very long injury and the process that he will have now will be difficult, I trust that there is still that great title to celebrate with him.
“A great title I mean a Grand Slam, because a Masters 1,000 more or less is not going to change anything.
As for being No 1, it will be quite difficult because for that he needs to play a lot of tournaments, be very consistent, and that is no longer in his head.
“It has already been No 1 many times, it does not matter the weeks, and that is secondary.”