Rafael Nadal hinted at his own retirement in a press conference this week. While it became a norm that the former world No. 1 was struggling ever since he came back from nursing his knee injury, retirement would be a total shocker for everyone.
“I have struggled mentally the past years and tried to recover in recent tournaments,” Rafael Nadal said in a press conference according to Sportsrageous. “Watching Novak Djokovic at the Miami Open made me realize that even if I get back to being a top player it’s still not enough as he is playing like no one can beat him. I don’t think I can beat him ever.” Nadal stated via a press conference on Thursday.
As he continued to speak, he also added that Roger Federer “should also retire soon and follow me,” hinting that his retirement might lead to the Swiss player’s as well.
“He’s still playing well but just like me it’s just not enough against Novak,” Rafael added. “Roger will make the semis or finals of the tournaments but he’s always going to get beat by Novak. It’s pointless so just enjoy your time with your family.”
At Miami Open 2016, the Spaniard had to retire early from a game because he felt the onset of a stomach virus.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 27, 2016
Novak Djokovic went on to win Miami Open, passing Roger Federer as the all-time highest earner in the world of competitive tennis with $98 million, according to Forbes.
Check out the Serbian basking in his glory.
— Getty Images Sport (@GettySport) April 3, 2016
“The top-ranked Serb’s 6-3, 6-3 win over former U.S. Open finalist Nishikori earned him $1,028,300, taking his total prize money to $98.2 million,” reports Forbes. “Federer has won $97.9 million.”
With no signs of slowing down, Novak Djokovic will most likely continue to dominate in Grand Slams and other crucial tournaments.
But when asked about his direct rivalry with the greatest all-time player in the world, the world No. 1 admitted that he tries to focus on the actual games, not setting records and making history.
“Of course it’s in the back of my mind somewhere,” he said according to Yahoo! Sports. “But I don’t have it as a main motivation. Because then things can go a little bit out of control, maybe can present some kind of distraction that I don’t need.”
As for Rafa, since his unfortunate turn of events, he updated on Twitter that he is feeling much better.
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) March 29, 2016
Maybe this means that he is ready to put the rumored retirement aside and start training for the clay court season – and his favorite tournament, the French Open!
But Nadal’s recent submission to Novak Djokovic has surprised tennis lovers. Knowing that in sports, players like to support, but not outright praise their opponents, especially when that means that one has to degrade oneself, this kind of comment is shocking for all his fans to hear.
Maybe the former world No. 1 is priming his fans before he officially announces his retirement.
While both Roger and Novak have families, Rafael Nadal has yet to settle down with his long-time girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello. They have been seeing each other for close to a decade, but they have not officially tied the knot.
In fact, Rafa and Xisca, as she is called by those closer to her, have made sure that their relationship stays in the private sphere. While a lot of the attention shifted away as the Spaniard’s performance started to slip, they still manage to stay clear of any prying eyes.
[Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images]