Nadal hints he could play Rome again: “Was probably 98 percent my last one, but I will not say 100% when it is not 100%”

The Spaniard left the court so fast after losing to Hubert Hurkacz that a planned celebration of his career did not take place

Rafa Nadal Rome 2024 Inside/Panoramic

As Rafael Nadal packed his bag after losing to Hubert Hurkacz in the second round of the Italian Open on Saturday, organisers expected him to stay on court and listen to a carefully-paid tribute they had prepared for the man who has won the title a record 10 times.

But the Spaniard had other ideas, leaving the court in a flash, before anything could be unveiled. And as he discussed his feelings, emotions and thoughts about the future in the press conferences shortly afterwards, he said he was not 100 percent sure he has played his last match in Rome.

“I don’t know if going to be the last time I’m going to play here or not,” he said. “Of course, is much more chances that today’s the last one. But, of course, I am not a guy that I make decisions in a hot moments, in the tough moments. Just try to let it be little bit the time and then let’s see.”

nadal: “I didn’t expect any ceremony”

Nadal’s 6-1, 6-3 defeat by Hurkacz was not as one-sided as the score sounds but the 37-year-old, who turns 38 next month, was clearly frustrated at not translating his practice court form into a big performance on the match court, although Hurkacz’s own performance had a lot to do with that.

But unlike in Madrid, where Nadal received an emotional tribute from the tournament, Nadal’s hasty exit from the court denied organisers the chance to do something similar. The 14-time Roland-Garros champion said he didn’t know about any tribute.

“I don’t know about that,” he said. “I never said (it was) going to be my last tournament here. I said in Madrid because that was that case. Here I am not 100% sure. Was probably 98%, but I will not say 100% when is not 100%, so…

“Different feeling here than Madrid. Different story. Different kind of moment for me. I don’t know. I didn’t expect any ceremony honestly, no. If I (am) retired, I think hopefully they going to have time if they want to do something in the next few years.”

“one of the most important moments in my career”

But Nadal also paid tribute to a tournament at which he has set new standards for brilliance over the years, winning the title 10 times and producing some of the all-time great performances in history.

“I always say that I will never be able to thank enough all the love and support that I receive around the world,” he said. “Here in Rome is obviously one of the most important events in my tennis career, one of these events that’s as going to be in my heart for so many reasons.

“But here I played few of the most important matches, beautiful matches, emotional ones. In a lot of moments of my tennis career, I was able to come back from tough moments playing here in Rome, especially the last eight years when I arrive here with some doubts, then I started to play well here.

“Obviously it was not the case today, but it really happened in the past. Yeah, I enjoyed a lot playing in this court.”

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