After almost a year away from the courts, Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal, 37, left the door open this Sunday (31) for a continuation of his career after the 2024 season, although he still recognizes that there is “a high probability” that the current participation in the Australian Open could be the last.
“The problem when I say this will be my last season is that I can’t predict 100% what will happen in the future,” he told a news conference. The tennis player admitted that he considered retirement due to the hip injury suffered in the last edition of the Australian Grand Slam.
Initially, the season that had just begun was the last planned by the Spaniard, after a 2023 limited by physical issues. “Obviously, the chance is high that this will be the last time I play here in Australia […] But if I’m here next year, don’t tell me ‘you said it would be your last season’, because I’m not saying that,” said Nadal.
After 347 days of absence, the Spaniard returned to the courts in the doubles bracket of the ATP in Brisbane this Sunday (31). Playing alongside compatriot and coach Marc Lopez, he looked sharp and mobile, but the result was a 2-0 (6-4, 6-4) defeat to the Australian duo of Jordan Thompson and Max Purcell.
Nadal will compete in the singles tournament against an old acquaintance, Austrian Dominic Thiem. The former US Open champion fell victim to the Spaniard twice in Roland Garros finals and is also trying to return to his highest level after suffering from injuries in recent seasons.
The match is scheduled for Tuesday (2). Nadal is currently ranked 672nd in the ATP rankings, while Thiem is 98th. The two have already faced each other 15 times, with nine victories for the Spaniard and six for the Austrian.
“I can’t predict how I’ll be in the next six months. I can’t predict whether my body will allow me to enjoy tennis as much as I have in the last 20 years,” added Nadal, confessing to having thought about abandoning the courts during his long convalescence.
“Did I think about retiring at that time? Of course I did. I had to go through a lot to come back. But at one point I decided to continue. I had the determination to continue”, he stated.