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Other SportsNadal dangles carrot of playing on beyond 2024

Nadal dangles carrot of playing on beyond 2024

Rafael Nadal has reiterated that 2024 will most likely be his final year on the ATP Tour, although the Spaniard did leave the door ajar for extending his career further.

Nadal has not played since last year’s Australian Open due to a hip flexor injury although he is scheduled to make his return next month in the Brisbane International.

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The 37-year-old, the winner of 22 grand slam titles, has struggled for fitness for a number of seasons but has worked hard to overcome his latest setback.

Speaking in a video posted on X, he said: “Of course, I have thought many times that it did not make sense to continue playing. There have been many years, many things, many hours of work in which I did not see the result, but I still think what I said in the last press conference [is correct], that I do not deserve to end my sports career in a press room.

“I would like to finish in a different way and I have fought and kept the illusion for that to happen. With doubts, with bad moments, but I think I have had the right people around me as I have always had throughout my career, family, team, friends.

“I think everyone has helped me decisively to be where I am today which is with the option of returning to compete and I think that also the desire of people who want to watch me play again has also had an important impact on my day to day.

“It is a reality there are many chances that it will be my last year without any doubt. There are chances that it may only be half a year, there are possibilities that it may be a full year. There are possibilities that we may not be able to reach all that. These are things that right now I do not have the capacity to be able to answer.

“I am only in conditions to say that I return to compete. There are many possibilities that it is my last year and I am going to enjoy the tournaments in that way.”

Nadal refused to commit to any specific timeline, though, purely because he doesn’t know his body will hold up when he does return to action. He even dangled the carrot of playing for longer if he shows no ill effects.

He added: “I do not want to announce it because in the end I do not know what can happen and I have to give myself the opportunity not to say one thing and then I can be a slave of what I have said.

“I think it is going to be like that but I can’t be 100 per cent sure because in the end I have worked a lot to come back to compete and if suddenly things and my physique allows me to continue and I enjoy what I do…why am I going to set a deadline? I think it makes no sense.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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