Rafael Nadal will turn 35 in less than a month and few imagined that he would still be competitive at this age. The first four months of 2021 were not exciting for the Spanish champion, affected by a back problem at the beginning of the season and winner of only one title in Barcelona.
His performance was quite disappointing in the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo and Madrid, in which he was unable to go beyond the quarter-finals, highlighting more than a few difficulties in terms of physical strength. The great goal of the former world number 1 is to win his 14th Roland Garros, which would also allow him to overtake for the first time his eternal rival Roger Federer in the all-time Grand Slam standings.
2021 is also the year of the Tokyo Olympics, an event that excites the imagination of many sportsmen. In a press conference at the BNL Internationals of Italy, Rafa - who wore the gold medal in singles in Beijing 2008 - admitted that his presence in Japan is not entirely obvious.
Rafael Nadal on the Tokyo Olympics
"Under normal conditions, the Olympic Games have always been a high priority for me," Rafael Nadal said. "However, under the current circumstances, though obviously Olympic Games are still in a privileged position, things are constantly changing.
The reality is that we've been in a pandemic for more than a year and the only thing I'm saying is that decisions are taken more short-term than long-term," Nadal said. :Nowadays, I don't make my calendar 6 months in advance, but just some weeks in advance."
Rafael Nadal also conceded that he is no longer a young man, and that he needs to plan his workload based on his body's reaction to the rigors of the tour. "Then, depending on how things evolve one way or another, and also taking into account that I'm almost 35 years old, I take decisions based on what my body and mind demand from me at each moment," Nadal said.
Belgian tennis star David Goffin has shared his thoughts on whether the status of Rafael Nadal on clay remains undiminished in the wake of two defeats on the surface this year. Goffin said that the tennis world is so used to seeing the Spaniard win virtually every title on clay for over a decade that two rare defeats have now got everyone debating whether he is still the ‘King of Clay’.
“It is certain that when you’re used to seeing him win everything…there, one year in 15, he arrives here (Rome) with two defeats and we wonder if he is still the strongest,” the 30-year-old said.