Amid a torrid season where he has been hampered by injury setbacks, Rafael Nadal is seemingly giving into the inevitable. In early 2023, the 22-time grand slam champion dropped a bombshell when he admitted to considering retirement. Nevertheless, he is focused on the immediate future, and is working around the clock to ensure he gets back playing the sport he loves the most and on the biggest stages possible, to fans’ pleasure.
The Spaniard has grown up playing tennis in local academies in his home city of Mallorca, where he formed an enduring partnership with longtime coach and uncle Toni from a young age. He, thus, knows the importance of coaching and the values it permeates through the psyche of a budding tennis player.
Rafael Nadal hints at accepting mentor’s role after retirement
After hinting that retirement was beckoning him at the end of the 2024 season, Rafael Nadal has now indicated that he may consider becoming a mentor or consultant in his post-playing career. However, the 37-year-old has stressed on the fact that him being a full-time coach on the ATP Tour would possibly never come to fruition.
It is without hesitation that one can fathom the Spaniard’s vast bank of knowledge on tennis. His upbringing and close familial ties have ensured that he takes care of his technique and skillset as much as he does on the body and mind.
“They ask me things about the future that I cannot answer, nor say one thing or another. Because the future is often uncertain and I also don’t lose sight of the fact that I have an academy where players come and I like sports in general.”, Nadal said in an interview.
“I like tennis, so I can’t say that I’m not going to drink that water, that I’m not going to be a coach. I don’t see myself doing a complete calendar on the Tour, it’s practically impossible. Now, in a few weeks, being able to help someone or being able to spend some time with a player, well, why not tomorrow.”, he added.
“Not today, but tomorrow who knows.” he concluded.
Nadal resumes practice as comeback journey begins
Rafael Nadal skipped the rest of 2023’s major tournaments after he ruptured his psoas muscle in his second round Australian Open match. He subsequently withdrew from his beloved Roland Garros event, and, through trials and tribulations, finally addressed his nagging injury.
In the most recent update on his recovery, Nadal was seen swimming in the outdoors as part of his recuperation process. His uncle and ex-coach Toni Nadal had offered updates on his nephew’s ambitions, stating that the 14-time French Open champion was looking forward to staging a comeback in next season’s Australian Open.
“Yes, I am with the team every day, training little tennis, but working a lot in the gym and in rehabilitation, many days doing double sessions morning and afternoon. In the morning, more on the track and in the afternoon, a little more aerobic work.” Nadal said.
“In the end it is a time to make an effort, many times without seeing immediate results. I know how that works. But trusting that in two months things will change radically and that I will have the opportunity to prepare as I would like for next year,” he added.
Rafael Nadal will look to fulfil one last hurrah on the tennis court before he bids adieu to fans and comrades alike. After Roger Federer‘s retirement, his exit from the sport leaves a big void in the elite upper echelons of tennis, with Novak Djokovic the last remaining member of the ‘Big 3’ to participate in the tour.
Will Rafael Nadal make a good mentor and consultant? How much are you looking forward to the Spaniard’s imminent comeback before he lays down his racquet for good? Let us know in the comments section below.