Published On: Mon, Sep 18th, 2023
Sports | 4,445 views

Rafael Nadal casts major doubts over comeback hopes with frank ‘illusion’ admission | Tennis | Sport

The tennis icon has warned that people are ‘disorientated’ if they believe he can return from a recurring hip injury and compete for Grand Slams again. The 37-year-old has not played since the Australian Open, pulling out of Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open this year. 

Nadal accepted earlier this year that he will likely retire at the end of 2024. It will bring to an end a remarkable career that has already included 22 Slam victories. 

But the two-time Wimbledon champion does not want to promise any more triumphs at majors. Having struggled with the intensity of a gruelling tennis season for quite some time, he has been eager to manage expectations.

Speaking to Movistar, Nadal said: “I would like to play again, to be competitive. But the illusion is not to come back and win Roland Garros or Australia, so that people are not disoriented.

“I am fully aware that at the time when I am in my life, it is a distant idea. I don’t say ‘impossible’. I’ve said it a thousand times, things change very quickly in sport.”

However, Nadal has explained that he would not be frustrated if he fails to win another Grand Slam. He says he has done ‘everything possible’ to get the best out of his career. 

Nadal also pointed out that Novak Djokovic would harbour far more frustration if he did not end his career as the most decorated Grand Slam player of all-time. Djokovic leapfrogged Nadal’s 22 majors earlier this year and now sits on a men’s singles record of 24 after winning the US Open. 

“I’m not frustrated for a simple reason. I believe that, within my means, I have done everything possible to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible for me,” Nadal continued. 

“Novak could be frustrated because he lives everything more intensely and that’s why he’s the best”

Nadal underwent surgery earlier this year having struggled with his hip problem. It is unclear when exactly he will make a playing return, but has previously said that 2024 will be his final 12 months on the tour.

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