From memory, we had never seen him venture into this terrain. Especially not in the middle of a tournament. For the first time, Rafael Nadal has hinted that the end of the road may not be far away. To the point of considering that this Roland-Garros 2022 could be his last. “This may be my last match at Roland-Garros.”he huffed about Tuesday’s upcoming blockbuster quarter-final against Novak Djokovic.
At this stage, the Spaniard, who will turn 36 on Friday, the day of the semi-finals, puts it out as a hypothesis and not as a certainty, but it is still notable that he does so. A scenario he put on the table by correlating it with the debate on the programming of his 59th duel against his Serbian rival:
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“This may be my last match at Roland-Garros, I would like to play it during the day. I prefer to play by day, I know Roland-Garros by day, and it’s also true that I’m aware that I don’t know what can happen next year. Every time I play here I am aware that it may be my last match in this tournament. In a year, a lot happens, and at this point in my life and career, with everything I have, anything can happen.“.
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Chris Evert: “I don’t give him more than two or three years to play tennis.”
Rafael Nadal clarified in the process that he wanted to continue his career, but between his absence of several months last season and the new big alert that his left foot experienced at the beginning of May, the Mallorcan is visibly struggling. to think long term.
“I hope that won’t be the case, that I could keep coming for many years, but I’m also very aware that it’s a possibility, if things don’t go my way, that this will be my last game herehe continued. I am in the quarter-finals of Roland-Garros. Two and a half weeks ago, although I was hopeful, I didn’t even know if I would be able to be here. So I’m enjoying being here another year.”
When he returned to competition in January in Australia, the record holder for Grand Slam victories said he had “doubts every day“on the fact that he could play again at the highest level. Three weeks later, he won the Australian Open and his first quarter proved to be exceptional with a streak of 20 victories. But that was before his body (the ribs then the foot) reminds him of his age.
Former world number one and consultant for Eurosport, Chris Evert believes that the end is inexorably approaching for Rafael Nadal. “I admire what he doesshe says. I started burning out in my thirties. When I got up in the morning, I had nothing in months. I don’t know where he finds the desire and the energy, this passion that he puts on the court. But he looks tired. His wounds affect him. The time (of his retirement) will come, be it next year, in two years, three. But I don’t give him more than two or three years to play tennis.” Nadal doesn’t even seem to be planning that far yet.
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