The start of the season was quite troubled for Rafael Nadal, struggling with a back injury that forced him to miss the entire ATP Cup. The Spanish phenomenon was unable to make it beyond the quarter-finals at the Australian Open 2021 , where he collected his third career comeback from two sets of advantage.
The former world number 1, who was on the hunt for his 21st Grand Slam at Melbourne Park, also had to give up the Rotterdam tournament to the chagrin of Dutch fans, who hoped to see him back for the first time since 2009.
It is not clear when the Majorcan makes his return to the tour, but many speculate that he may be at the starting line of the Miami Open at the end of this month. At Roland Garros in a couple of months, Rafa will have the gluttonous chance to overtake eternal rival Roger Federer in the Grand Slam standings.
In a very long interview granted to 'Veja', Nadal revealed the changes he had to make in his life in order to manage the numerous injuries.
Rafael Nadal on the GOAT debate
“Honestly, I don’t remember ever playing without pain,” Rafael Nadal said.
“In the past few years, I have been experiencing pain more often and you need to learn to live with it, as long as it doesn’t stop you from playing. I had to change a lot in my game and in my training. I changed routines, trained less hours than I would like, improved my serve and my positioning.
Everything evolves, one way or the other." The Mallorcan believes that the best time to measure a player's greatness is after that player has retired. "I don’t think it is in any way up to me to make a comment like that (on him being the GOAT)," Rafael Nadal continued.
"People like to speculate, which is why they make these comparisons. When my career is over, we will have enough time to remember my achievements and understand the place I occupy in the history of tennis." Rafael Nadal asserted that he shares a ‘great relationship’ with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
"I have a great relationship with Roger and Novak," the Spaniard went on. "We are rivals only during matches. The fight takes place only on the tennis court." During his interview, the 34-year-old touched upon the topic of fame, revealing that it does not affect his personality.
"I never said specifically that I don’t like being famous," Nadal said. "What I usually say is that fame does not affect me or my behavior. It is true that I am a reserved person. I am used to a life in Mallorca where I can be an ordinary person, just a man with his family and friends."