Andre Agassi addresses Rafael Nadal's retirement, makes one interesting observation

Agassi asked about Nadal potentially retiring in 2024.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Andre Agassi addresses Rafael Nadal's retirement, makes one interesting observation
© Getty Images Entertainment - Candice Ward

Andre Agassi hopes Rafael Nadal gets the finish he desires as the American tennis icon has no doubt that the 22-time Grand Slam champion deserves to go out on his own terms. 

After struggling with multiple injuries in the last couple of years and then suffering a serious hip injury that required surgery, Nadal announced last May that he would likely retire in 2024. In the first week of 2024, Nadal's post-surgery comeback got off to a promising start in Brisbane but then the 37-year-old sustained a muscle tear injury during his quarterfinal match and missed the next two months. 

But on Sunday, Nadal returned to action healthy in the Netflix Slam in Las Vegas and competed extremely well before Carlos Alcaraz handed him a 3-6 6-4 14-12. 

For the special occasion, Netflix also hired Agassi - a former eight-time Grand Slam champion and one of the most iconic players in tennis history - to work as a commentator. 

"He (Nadal) won't take anything for granted out here tonight given his preparation and the dreams he has of going through the last phase of his career," Agassi said in Las Vegas.

"Does anybody deserve to go out from tennis on their terms better than this guy? I mean, easy guy to respect, hard guy to play against, and a beautiful thing for the sport to have it here watching him."

Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal
Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal© Getty Images Entertainment - David Becker
 

Agassi: I had Andy Roddick, Nadal now has Alcaraz

After landing his eighth Slam at the 2002 Australian Open when he was 32, Agassi remained competitive for the next couple of years and had a couple of more deep Slam runs but he never again played in a Major final. At the time, some new faces were arriving, and Andy Roddick - who also worked as a commentator for the Netflix Slam - introduced himself as the new big thing in American tennis when he won the 2003 US Open just days after turning 21.

Nadal, who landed his 22nd Grand Slam title at the 2022 French Open, hasn't had much luck with his health since then. In the meantime, 20-year-old Alcaraz has won his first two Grand Slams.

"Rafa reminded me of me when I was approaching retirement and I had people like Roddick behind me, now it is Alcaraz today," Agassi said.

"He deserves to retire when and where he wants. I hope his body allows him to make the decision when it is really clear to him."

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz
Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz© Getty Images Entertainment - David Becker
 

Nadal on his retirement in Las Vegas

When the 2024 season started, Nadal confirmed his retirement in 2024 wasn't a sure thing but underlined that it would probably happen. After sustaining an injury early in his comeback and returning to action in Las Vegas, Nadal indicated that his plan is to give his absolute best during the clay season and see what happens. 

"Whatever has to be left, leave it in the clay season, which may or may not be the last, I have not decided 100 percent. At the moment things are going that way," Nadal told Spanish reporters in Las Vegas.

"I'm not saying goodbye because then I'd say I'm not playing anymore. This is an important point and I don't want to say it because I'm not 100 percent clear about it. In the last two years, I haven't been able to play. Life is showing you the path."

For months now, Nadal has been repeating that his main and only priority is to be healthy and competitive in his comeback. In Las Vegas, Nadal repeated that message and said he never had the idea of a farewell in his head but just wanted to go out in a positive way when the time came for him to walk away from pro tennis. 

"How did I imagine my farewell? At first, I didn't imagine it because when you start to imagine something, it means that the closer you are to it," Nadal said. 

"It wasn't something I had in mind. I would like to say goodbye well, being competitive and enjoying myself on the court. Whether that can be or not, time will tell."

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal© Getty Images Entertainment - David Becker
 

Even though Nadal didn't manage to beat Alcaraz in Indian Wells, the positive thing was that he was competitive and looked very good on the court. Now, Nadal turns his focus on the opening Masters of the year in Indian Wells, where he has won three titles during his career. 

In Indian Wells, Nadal will certainly be hoping to avoid any injuries and setbacks, while eyeing to be competitive and win a couple of matches. 

Andre Agassi Rafael Nadal
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