Rafael Nadal makes huge retirement admission: 'I'd like to, but...'

Nadal seems to want to continue playing but his body remains the problem.

by Dzevad Mesic
Rafael Nadal makes huge retirement admission: 'I'd like to, but...'
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Rafael Nadal admits he would like to play tennis for a couple of more years and give his son a chance to remember him playing but admits that his body is probably making that wish unrealistic.

On Thursday, Nadal certainly had one of the most special moments on the court ever as his son - who was born in 2022 October and is reportedly named Rafael Jr. - was in attendance. And Nadal made sure to do something special as he ousted 16-year-old wildcard Darwin Blanch 6-1 6-0. 

After the match, Nadal - who turns 38 in June but plans to retire at some point in 2024 - made an honest admission. 

"I would love to play a little bit longer and give him (my son) a memory of myself playing tennis. That’s what will be the ideal thing for me and for my wife and family. But I can’t, probably I will not be able to make that happen," Nadal said.

"But at least, I mean, happy to have a great team and family and friends around me almost all my life. It helped me in every single way of being happy."

Rafael Nadal’s wife and son
Rafael Nadal’s wife and son © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Will Nadal indeed retire in 2024?

When the 2024 season started, Nadal said he wasn't closing the doors on possibly playing beyond this year but underlined there were several factors that needed to be met. Then just a couple of days later, Nadal sustained an injury that sidelined him until last week's Barcelona Open. 

Considering that Nadal's 2024 farewell hasn't gone well or as planned so far, the chances of the Spaniard continuing to play beyond 2024 are now likely less than they were at the start of 2024. 

But if Nadal does well in Madrid and manages to compete at the French Open and stay healthy, those chances might improve again. 

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Meanwhile, Nadal plays Alex de Minaur in the Madrid second round on Saturday.

Rafael Nadal