Rafael Nadal's words are honest but worrying: retirement is close

The Spanish champion questions his participation in Barcelona and Madrid: the future is very cloudy

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Rafael Nadal's words are honest but worrying: retirement is close
© David Becker / Stringer Getty Images Sport

"I'm going day by day. I'm not ruling out anything, neither being in Barcelona next week, nor being in Madrid. I haven't been able to be in Monte Carlo because I've had an abdominal problem for two months, since I returned from Australia. I recovered quickly from the injury in Australia, then, one day, while training, I started having abdominal discomfort. We are trying very carefully and this is the truth."

Rafael Nadal gave an interview to Movistar+ during half-time of the Spanish King's Cup soccer match won by Athletic Bilbao over Mallorca.

The Spanish champion talked about his current situation and the physical problems that still keep him away from competition. And also the possibility that he could be on the court next week at the ATP 500 in Barcelona and in the following weeks at the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid.

All of us (media, insiders, fans and all those who love tennis and sport) hoped to see Rafa back on the court. A champion like him deserves not only a dignified, but a spectacular ending to his equally legendary career.

But the words released in the interview with Movistar+ are worrying, unfortunately we cannot deny it.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde
 

The abdominal problem he is suffering from must be so disabling for him as to preclude him from coming back on the court at the moment.

And the question everyone is asking is: will Nadal be able to return to competing (and in a competitive manner) at least at the Roland Garros and give himself the last great dream of his career?

The answer is difficult and insidious. I am sure that Nadal will do everything in his power to at least play in Paris, but the conditions are negative and, to date, it seems that his retirement is closer than his come back.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde
 

Toni Nadal, Nadal's former coach and uncle of the 22-time Slam champion, spoke to EFE and explained that his nephew's problems mainly concern the serve.

"He has problems with his serve, he said, otherwise no problems in training. Rafa is very clear that he must listen to his body and know when the time is right or wrong to compete. With the Roland Garros so close you either give 100% or it's better not to participate," he told.

However, Toni does not rule out Rafa's possible participation in the Barcelona and Madrid tournaments scheduled in the weeks following Monte Carlo.

"I don't know what he will do with Barcelona and Madrid. When we see each other I ask him how he is doing, but I don't ask him what his plans are. I hope he can play. A few days ago I saw him and asked him how things were progressing. He told me that he wasn't doing well and I told him the same thing as always: let's not complain, it went very well for us because his career could have ended in 2011 or 2012," he explained.

Regarding participation in Roland Garros and the Paris Olympics, Toni Nadal analyzed: "If he manages to recover and is well, I think he could win a medal in Paris. It's difficult, but it cannot be ruled out that he is one of the favorites. At the Roland Garros when he participated there was a clear favorite. Now there are several and I trust that Rafael is within that group."

Rafael Nadal gives up on Monte Carlo and puts in doubt Barcelona and Madrid

"Hi all, these are very difficult moments for me, sporting wise. Unfortunately I have to tell you that I am not going to be playing in Monte Carlo. My body simply won't allow me. And even if I am working hard & making the maximum effort every day with all the will to play and compete again at tournaments that have been very important for me, the truth is that I can't play today.

You have no idea how hard this is for me to not be able to play these events. The only thing I can do is to accept the situation and try to look at the immediate future keeping the excitement and will to play in order to give me a chance for things to get better. Thanks again to all, as always, for all the support and best wishes!"

The fans hoped to see him until the end but in the end there was nothing to be done. The Spanish champion has officially announced that he will not take part in the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo, the first major tournament of the clay court season.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde
 

Nadal had been working for weeks to return to the court, he was unable to take part in the ATP Masters 1000 in North America and was also forced to withdraw from the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo.

Through his social accounts, the 22-time winner of Grand Slam tournaments published his intentions and thus extinguished the fans' hopes.

Rafael Nadal
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