Rafael Nadal says he’s “not yet at that point” where he’s already visualizing retirement

In a candid interview with Spanish publication MARCA, Rafael Nadal said he doesn’t see his own retirement just yet, having attended the touching farewell to his rival Roger Federer at this year’s Laver Cup. “I know that moment is closer than last year, no doubt, and then two years ago,” he said. “But at the end of the day it’s one thing that when it has to happen, it will happen. I would like to have it on a tennis court, that’s for sure.”

The Spaniard echoed that thought when asked about the Paris Olympics in 2024, the tennis round for which he will compete at Roland Garros, where he triumphed 14 times. ‘Well, I do not know. I really can’t imagine. In addition, there is another problem and that is that if you start thinking about your pension a lot, you are already in that dynamic and I am not there yet.”

Nadal said Federer’s retirement, after a build-up of nearly two years following his knee surgery, was a milestone in the sporting world, compared to Zinedine Zidane’s or the eventual retirements of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. “They’re people you’ve grown up with all your life, sharing moments and watching them on television, so they’re almost like your family,” he said.

As for Federer, Nadal weighed in on the debate over who is the greatest of their generation, a debate that has grown louder and more controversial as the trio of him, Federer and Novak Djokovic nears its end. The Spaniard said personal biases dictate the debate. “There will be one that will be the best, which I think is not easy to describe, because everyone has their arguments to defend one or the other player beyond the objective data,” he said. He did emphasize that the trio pushed each other to the limit to achieve what they have.

Radio frequency saved him from retirement

Nadal, who had a milestone 2022 win in the Australian and French Open and reached the Wimbledon semifinals, has also spent most of the second half of the year recovering and dealing with injuries. During the interview, Nadal revealed that after winning the French Open by using injections to numb the chronic pain in his foot, he knew he would be forced to retire until he found a suitable solution to the injury.

Nadal suffers from Muller-Weiss syndrome, a degenerative foot condition that causes him chronic pain in his heel. The Spaniard began a new radiofrequency treatment ahead of Wimbledon in June, which he says is showing positive results.

“The truth is that after Wimbledon I did it many times because the injury is incurable and when the nerves start to hurt you have to do it again,” he said of the treatment. “Now I am much happier, apart from winning or losing on the field, because I had a limp. I played tennis with a lot of anti-inflammatories, but I was limping all day. I thought I should quit tennis because I lost my vitality and I was a sad person most days.

Nadal will now play the United Cup – a new mixed event between ATP and WTA – in Australia from December 31 ahead of the Australian Open which starts on January 17.

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