Rafael Nadal has opened up on when he will decide to retire. The 35-year-old ended his season early to recover from an ongoing left foot injury and recently underwent a medical procedure before returning to the practice court
Nadal played just two matches after suffering a shock semi-final defeat at Roland Garros, where he is the 13-time champion.
The Spaniard withdrew from Wimbledon and the Olympics after losing just his third ever match at the French Open, and later revealed he aggravated a food injury during his semi-final that left him unable to play tennis for 20 days.
He made a short-lived return, playing just two matches at the ATP 500 in Washington before shutting down his season early.
Nadal flew to Canada after losing a tight three set match to Lloyd Harris in Washington with the intention to play in the Toronto Masters but flew home before his opening match – a rematch against Harris – looking to consult with his personal doctor after feeling more trouble with his foot.
The former world No 1 then announced he would be ending his 2021 season early and withdrawing from the upcoming US Open to help his foot recover, saying: “I have not had the ability to train and prepare and compete in the way that I really like do it to find a solution to this problem or at least improve it in order to continue to have options for the next few years.”
While there have been fears over Nadal’s comeback to the tour, with the Spaniard himself saying he was unsure when he would return, he appears to have made a promising return to the practice courts.
With retirement rumours rife as the 20-time Grand Slam champion continues to recover from his ongoing injury and recent “aggressive” procedure, Nadal has now set the record straight on when he will retire. “At this point, I can’t predict anything,” he told NumberWeb.
“I try not to think about my age.” Speaking on when the time to hand his racket up would come, the 35-year-old hoped he could keep going for a few more years.
He continued: “If I don’t feel fresh both physically and mentally, I’ll retire. “I hope if it will take some time before that happens.”
The 88-time title winner also gave a hint on the direction his life is likely to take when he eventually does retire.
Sounding open to the idea of coaching, Nadal said: “I’m definitely in the sports industry. I run an academy, which will keep me connected to tennis. “I like helping young players grow.”
He also seemed keen to invest more time into his Rafa Nadal Foundation, adding: “I will also spend more time on my foundation, which supports economically disadvantaged children.
“I’m not afraid of life without tennis at all.”