Rafael Nadal: 'I need to play very well to have any chance'
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 3005
Rafael Nadal's longevity has left fans and experts in awe alike. Hardly anyone expected the Spaniard to have such a long career at the highest level, despite the fact that injuries have forced him to miss several important appointments.
Suffice it to say that the 36-year-old man from Manacor is the player from the big three who has missed the most Grand Slam tournaments. The former world number 1, who had only played seven official tournaments in 2021, redeemed himself this year by winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros against all odds.
His career was abruptly interrupted in the second half of the season, also due to the abdominal tear he suffered at Wimbledon. In addition to not being able to play the semifinals of the Championship, the Iberian appeared at the US Open in precarious conditions and did not go beyond the round of 16.
These days Rafa is preparing for the new season, where he will continue his duel from a distance with Novak Djokovic. In a recent interview for the ITF website, former Spanish challenger Roberto Menéndez recalled his first meeting with Nadal.
"Rafael Nadal and I met for the first time in the 'Future Spain F20' tournament. I lost 6-4 in the third after a good battle," Menendez said. "We gave a very funny interview on Televisión Española, because the media wanted to talk to two potential world number 1s.
When Rafa was only 16 years old, he told me that he didn't care about being in the top 10. He wanted to reach the top of the ATP rankings. He was very confident in his future and knew that he had the capacity to aspire to certain goals," added Roberto.
Rafa opens up on his team
Rafael Nadal was asked in a post-match press conference if setbacks like this would make him consider retirement. "So you are very, very interested on my retirement (smiling). I mean, that's, for the moment, is not the case.
When this day arrives, I'm going to let you know, guys. Don't keep going with the retirement because I'm here to keep playing tennis," the Spaniard stated. "He's [de Minaur] a great player. Playing super fast. Playing with very high intensity.
Taking the ball very early. Improved the serve. Yeah, gonna be another very tough match that I need to play very well to have any chance. So let's see," Nadal said. Losing my match now we are under a lot of pressure. So let's see," the Spaniard said.