Rafael Nadal claimed a Major title for the 10th consecutive year in 2014, conquering Roland Garros for his 14th Major crown after turning 28. After a tough 2015 season that nearly knocked him out of the top 10 for the first time in a decade, Nadal also struggled to deal with rivals from the top in 2016, lifting two titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and scoring just 39 wins overall.
Worst number since 2004! Nadal was unable to claim the Roland Garros crown for the second year in a row, retiring due to a wrist injury and staying away from the court for two months. The Spaniard was ready to give his best at the Rio Olympics, reaching the semifinals in singles after a favorable draw, but losing the next two games to be left empty-handed.
Rafa lost an excellent semifinal match against Juan Martín Del Potro in the decisive tiebreak after three hours and eight minutes before another tough loss to Kei Nishikori in a battle for the bronze medal. The 2008 Beijing individual gold medalist still found a way to leave Brazil in glory, winning the doubles gold medal with his great friend Marc Lopez.
Between 2009 and 2011, the pair had won a pair of Doha and Indian Wells titles, and were the sixth seeded in Rio, waiting for some ancient magic and a chance to win a medal. In the first round, they defeated Jean-Julien Rojer and Robin Haase before beating Juan Martín Del Potro and Máximo González to reach the quarterfinals.
Nadal is confident of making a full recovery
Rafael Nadal took to social media to inform his fans of his decision. In a video on Instagram, the Spaniard said he has been "suffering" more than usual with a foot problem over the last year.
"Hello everyone, I am very sorry to announce that I won't be able to keep playing tennis in 2021 season but as you know I have been suffering too much from my foot in the last year," Nadal said. "I missed a lot of important events for me like the US Open now, Wimbledon, the Olympics and many other events that are so important and emotional for me."
Nadal then shed some light on his injury, explaining how the pain has not allowed him to practice and compete at the level he would like to. "The foot is not the proper way and during the last year I was not able to practice and prepare myself the way that I need to, to be competitive at the standards that I want to be," revealed the Spaniard.
"So we had to take that decision but I am confident that I will recover 100% and I will be able to fight again for the most important things," Nadal said.