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Rafael Nadal is a legend of the game, and his absence from the tour this year has been a blow for many tennis fans, including myself. Sadly, the 37-year-old has endured a horrible string of injuries since the summer months of 2022. And as you are no doubt aware, the injury he sustained at the Australian Open has forced Nadal to miss the entire 2023 season. This decline in physical fitness mirrors what we witnessed with Roger Federer over the last couple of years of his career too, which doesn’t exactly bode well for Nadal.
However, the great Spaniard has already informed fans that he wishes to make what he called a ‘farewell tour’ in 2024. Yet for this to happen, Rafael Nadal needs to be fully fit and able to compete at the highest level – something that he has always maintained throughout his decorated career. This is what makes Nadal’s 2024 comeback both exciting and concerning, especially given the latest interview that he gave in Spain just a few days ago.
Since this was the first official interview that Nadal has given in quite some time on the subject, this gives us a better understanding of where he is at. And now, I’d like to share the key takeaways from Nadal’s interview to shed some light on the 2024 comeback, as well as his retirement plans in the future.
Rafael Nadal retirement intentions and 2024 ATP Tour return – the latest breakdown
Sadly, all legends of the game have to retire eventually. As much as we’d all love them to keep playing forever, things just don’t work that way. And at 37 years of age, Nadal is certainly facing the closing moments of his remarkable career. With that said, I probably speak for all tennis fans when I say that we would love one more season with Nadal’s name in the draw for the biggest tournaments in the sport. This would be an epic to one of the most incredible careers both in tennis and in sport in general.
But will Nadal’s 2024 comeback ultimately be realized? Is his body ready for a return to the ATP Tour? Or is this just a pipedream? Well, his latest interview answers some of these questions, for which I will share the key takeaways right now.
Nadal’s 2024 comeback – the bad news
The list of injuries that Nadal has battled in recent years is fairly lengthy. This is obviously far from ideal for Rafael Nadal, and it has hindered his chances of adding more Grand Slam titles to the 22 that he has to his name. But if he was to play one more season, he would have four more opportunities to capture a Grand Slam, with his best shot being Roland Garros. However, there was some bad news in Nadal’s interview a few days ago.
While he has been sidelined in 2023 primarily due to the hip injury that he picked up in January, it seems as though the long-term foot injury is once again causing significant issues. As Nadal stated, some days it is very painful to even walk down the stairs, which suggests that the hopes of Nadal charging around a tennis court are slim to none.
Nevertheless, Nadal promised an update on his physical status in a couple of months’ time.
Nadal’s 2024 comeback – the good news
While the news concerning his continued injury woes didn’t create much hope for Nadal fans, there is a flip side to this coin. Sure, Nadal was forthcoming about his physical fitness, yet he was also adamant that the 2024 comeback is still on the cards. And to give an even more exciting twist to his potential return in 2024, he expressed interest in possibly playing doubles with Carlos Alcaraz in the 2024 Olympics. This would obviously be incredible if they did indeed team up and attempt to win a gold medal for Spain.
In addition to this, although he has claimed that 2024 will be his farewell tour, he also said it won’t be his final season with 100% certainty. As he has often done in his career, Nadal claimed that ‘anything is possible’ in tennis, and if he remains fit or even wins a few big titles, who knows – perhaps he will continue?
Ambitious retirement plans
Nadal hasn’t provided any official date for his retirement from tennis. But interestingly, during this same interview, when asked about his plans for retirement, Nadal stated that he would love to become the president of Real Madrid. After all, Nadal has always been a huge football fan, and Real Madrid is the team that he is crazy about. And for me, this would be pretty awesome to witness!
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