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Nadal: Stop Retirement Questions

By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, January 2, 2023

Illness and fatigue suddenly struck Rafael Nadal in his United Cup post-match presser.

The 36-year-old Spanish superstar is sick and tired of being asked if this is his Australian farewell.

Nadal: I Need to Keep Fighting

A frustrated Nadal fell to Australia’s Alex de Minaur, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 in Sydney.

The defeat, which followed the second-ranked Spaniard's opening loss to Cameron Norrie, drops Nadal to 0-2 on the season.

Obviously, not ideal preparation for the reigning Australian Open champion ahead of the Happy Slam, which stars on January 16th.

Tennis Express

Facing a flurry of farewell questions, Nadal made a declarative statement of intent.

The 22-time Grand Slam king says he will continue competing as long as he has the passion to play.

“No, I mean, when arrive the day that is go out on the court and say, that’s getting hard, is the day to say good-bye,” Nadal told the media in Sydney.

“I don’t want to and I don’t need to keep playing for no one reason. The only reason that I make sense to keep playing if I really enjoy what I do, and I really feel it.

“If I don’t feel it, I mean, I did much more than what I ever dreamed."

Embed from Getty Images

A year ago, Nadal staged a dream rally Down Under.

Unleashing the warrior within, Nadal delivered the comeback of his career battling by Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 to capture a men’s record 21st Grand Slam title in an epic and astounding Australian Open final.

Now, Nadal aims to successfully defend the AO title for the first time and achieve another major first.

The last time Nadal successfully defended a hard-court Grand Slam? Never.

The king of clay will launch his Melbourne defense struggling to find his game, seeking his first win of the season and the confidence that comes from it and knowing the shadow of nine-time AO champion Novak Djokovic, hungry to regain his title and match Nadal's record with his 22nd major, all looming as major obstacles.

So with all that on his plate, it's no surprise Nadal was in no mood to bite on a feeding frenzy ov er his future.

Reiterating sentiments Roger Federer shared in his final years on tour, Nadal said when the time comes to close the curtain on his career he will be the one to break the news.

That time is not now, Nadal said.

Now is the time to reload rather than retire.

“Every time that I am coming to a press conference it seems that I have to retire," Nadal told the media in Sydney. “So, you are very, very interested in my retirement.

"I mean, that, for the moment, is not the case. When this day arrives, I’m gonna let you know guys. Don’t keep going with the retirement [questions] because I’m going to keep playing tennis.”

And he'll likely keep hearing the R word as long as he does.

Photo credit: Andrew Cheung/Getty