When retirement has to happen, it will happen. I would like it to be on court – Nadal

The Spaniard says he is not at the point of thinking about his retirement just yet

Rafae Nadal at the exhibition series in Buenos Aires in November 2022 Rafae Nadal at the exhibition series in Buenos Aires in November 2022 Image Credit: AI/Reuters/Panoramic

Rafael Nadal was all teary eyed on the retirement of his great rival and close friend Roger Federer at the Laver Cup a couple of months ago. But that has not made the Spaniard think about his own retirement plans just yet.

The 36-year-old Nadal is ranked No 2 in the world after a season in which he won his 21st and 22nd Grand Slam titles (Australian Open and Roland-Garros). And while the Spaniard is very aware that he is inching closer to his retirement, Nadal says he has no plans about it at the moment.

“I don’t visualize it (my retirement) for a simple fact, because I’m not much of a guesser, predictor or future-proof attempt, because things change so fast, right?” Nadal said in an interview to Marca. “I know that moment is closer than last year, without a doubt, and that two years ago. That’s pure logic. But in the end, it is one thing that when it has to happen, it will happen. I would like it to be on a tennis court, mind you. There is also another issue and that is that when you start thinking a lot about withdrawal you are already entering that dynamic and I am not at that point.”

Reflecting on Federer’s emotional farewell, Nadal added that the day was both sad and exciting anf that growing up watching an icon makes it tough for everyone involved to say goodbye to them.

“Roger’s retirement was both a sad and exciting day. I think he is one of the great icons of the history of sport in general, so it was a hard time, and not only as a rival and partner but as a tennis lover. The same thing happened with Pau (Gasol) or (Zinedine) Zidane and it will happen to me, with (Leonardo) Messi and Cristiano (Ronaldo). They are people with whom you have grown up for a lifetime, sharing moments and watching them on television, so they are almost like your family. And when they retire, as happened with Roger, you know you’re not going to see them play again.”

“Of course, I would like to be the one who ends up with the most Slams” – Nadal

Speaking about his rivals for the G.O.A.T. title, Nadal admitted he would like to end his career with the most number of Grand Slam titles in men’s tennis but it is not something that he loses sleep over.

“Of course, I would like to be the one who ends up with the most. Yes, of course. I am a competitor, without any doubt, but for me it has never been an obsession nor will it be,” Nadal said. “Well, it may be a dream, but not an obsession at all. In the end I always say the same thing and I can only thank life for everything that has made me live for so many years, not only as a tennis player but as a sports fan, because I have been able to live many things that I would never have dreamed of when I was little.”

Nadal further added that while he did understand the media and fan hype around the G.O.A.T. debate, it is something that he does not wish to partake in.

“I understand it and I think it’s good for the promotion of our sport,” Nadal added. “Also, the press has to write, but my understanding of this debate has not changed over the years. There will be one that will be the best, which I do not think is easy to define because everyone has their arguments to defend one player or another beyond the objective data. In addition, two of those three tennis players are still active today. In the end what matters is that both Federer and Djokovic or I have done a lot more than we had dreamed. I don’t like to talk about these things because I’m part of the equation but by numbers we’ve achieved things that have never been done before in our sport, so the three of us will go down in tennis history.”

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