'Rafael Nadal should do it in Madrid or Paris,' his uncle makes bold prediction

Rafael Nadal has not played since the Australian Open second round

by Jovica Ilic
'Rafael Nadal should do it in Madrid or Paris,' his uncle makes bold prediction

Toni Nadal believes Rafa Nadal should end his career at the Madrid Masters or his beloved Roland Garros! After making a dream start to the season, Nadal began to struggle in the middle of 2022. Plagued with injuries, the Spaniard has played only 13 matches after Wimbledon, losing eight and dropping out from the top-10 after Indian Wells after almost 18 years!

Many have feared that Rafa will start thinking about his retirement, but that has not happened. Nadal is back on the practice court after playing only four matches this year, hoping to leave a hip injury behind and play well in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

Toni Nadal has not spoken with his nephew about a potential retirement, waiting to see him back on the court and hoping for an injury-free run in the next couple of years. However, Toni thinks that Rafa will pick the Madrid Masters or Roland Garros as a venue for his last tournament when that moment happens.

Nadal won his 22nd Major title at the last year's Roland Garros, and everything turned into a nightmare for him a month later. The Spaniard injured his abdominal muscle at Wimbledon and withdrew following an epic quarter-final victory over Taylor Fritz.

Rafa revealed a seven-millimeter tear and played only nine matches by the end of the season.

Rafael Nadal has been struggling with injuries for over a year.

Nadal still felt the pain at the US Open, staying away from the court for two more months and struggling at the ATP Finals.

The year-end no. 1 battle became the mission impossible, and Rafa embraced an off-season, hoping for a fresh start in 2023. Instead, he has played only four matches this year, losing three and sealing his fate in the top-10 after Indian Wells.

Nadal experienced losses to Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur at the United Cup despite winning the opening set. Not feeling at his best, Rafa gave everything while seeking the Australian Open title defense. He overpowered the young Briton Jack Draper and faced Mackenzie McDonald in the second round.

The American proved too strong and scored a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph. Rafa injured his left hip in the second set's closing stages, refusing to retire and giving his 120% in the third. However, he suffered a late break to propel the rival over the top and drop almost 2000 ATP points.

After further checks, Nadal revealed a Grade 2 iliopsoas injury that forced him to miss Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami. Falling through the ATP list, Rafa dropped 600 ATP points last Monday and found himself outside the top-10 for the first time in almost 18 years!

Nadal is back on the practice court, working hard on his game and hoping to play injury-free in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. "Rafa should retire in Madrid or at Roland Garros. The time will come, and he will decide. You convince yourself you still have something to offer when you win a trophy.

It's hard to retire while you are winning, as Sampras did. I have not talked about that with Rafa, and I do not know how much those stories fit him. If he fully recovers, he will keep playing, and then we will see," Toni Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal Australian Open