Rafael Nadal asked about playing beyond 2024, if he identifies with Naomi Osaka

In Brisbane, Nadal was asked about the possibility of him changing his mind and returning to Australia in 2025 as well.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Rafael Nadal asked about playing beyond 2024, if he identifies with Naomi Osaka
© Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde

Rafael Nadal is refusing to fully commit to retiring in 2024 as the Spanish tennis star suggests that he does not want to be called a liar if he continues playing beyond this season. 

In May, 37-year-old Nadal announced during a press conference in Mallorca that he was planning on retiring in 2024. After struggling with multiple injuries in 2022, Nadal sustained a serious hip injury at the 2023 Australian Open. Since Nadal's recovery wasn't going as targeted, the 22-time Grand Slam champion opted for surgery in early June. 

After recovering from hip surgery, Nadal's comeback is starting in the first week of 2024 at the Brisbane International. To no one's surprise, Nadal was asked in his Brisbane pre-tournament press conference about the possibility of him changing his mind and returning to Australia in 2025 as well. Answering the question, Nadal was very direct. 

“The problem about saying, ‘that’s going to be my last season’ is that I can’t predict what’s going on. That’s why I say ‘probably’. It’s obvious that it’s a high percentage it’ll be my last time playing in Australia. But if I’m here next year, don’t tell me, ‘you said it was going to be your last season’, because I didn’t say it," Nadal said in Brisbane.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal© Getty Images Sport - Bradley Kanaris
 

Nadal says he and Naomi Osaka 'are completely different situations'

Nadal isn't the only major name returning to tennis in Brisbane as four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka is also making a comeback at the Australian tournament. Osaka, 26, didn't play any tournaments after 2022 Tokyo and she also missed the entire 2023 season due to pregnancy. After giving birth, Osaka is ready to play again and Brisbane is her first tournament in 16 months. 

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Bradley Kanaris
 

In her pre-tournament press conference, 26-year-old Osaka admitted that after 2022 Tokyo she thought about retirement for a month. At the time, Osaka was still struggling with motivation and lost a bit of her joy and passion for the game. But during pregnancy and her time away from tennis, Osaka's love for tennis returned and the Japanese is now determined to have a major comeback.

Ahead of his comeback, Nadal was asked about Osaka considering retirement before ultimately deciding to continue playing. Answering the question, Nadal highlighted that he was away from the game only because he was dealing with an injury and not because he was struggling with motivation or anything like that. 

"She got tired or lost a little bit of motivation for the game. That never happened to me. I had to be away because my body was not able to keep going," Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal Naomi Osaka
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