(AAP) – Rafael Nadal admits he’s planning for retirement – but says the golf course and fishing can wait as he plots possibly his last serious tilt at Australian Open glory.
Rafa rarely utters the R-word but, in a candid and colourful interview, the 17-times grand slam champion has confessed to accepting the end is inevitable after almost 20 years of battering his body into submission.
“Life has great things, not only tennis, so it is something that doesn’t scare me, to think about that day and that day is realistic,” Rafa said.
“The day that I feel that I don’t have chances to compete for the things that make me happy will probably be the day to do another thing.
“I am here to try and play a very good tournament in Melbourne and I believe if I have this good week of practice and I am able to have a good start in the tournament, why not? I am playing well (enough to win).”
Turning 33 in June, and after being dogged by knee, back, wrist and abdominal injuries, not to mention ankle surgery in November, Rafa knows he’s in the tail end of his illustrious career and “of course” is thinking about life after tennis.
“I prepare my future, of course. I have my tennis academy, a foundation. I have different things around the world that I have to take care (of) in the future and, of course, I will not be the guy who finished a tennis career and am going to stay at home fishing and playing golf every day.
“Of course I would like to do it more often than the last 20 years probably, but I like the work, the new experiences.
“I am a worker so I like to do those things.”
Feeling relaxed and jovial before entering his intense grand slam mode, Rafa offered a fascinating insight into his passion for golf.
The tennis southpaw declared himself “a rightie” and modestly revealed how, despite being very much a part-timer, he plays off a two handicap.
“One point eight, 1.7,” in fact, he said.
“I am solid, more or less. I have nothing unbelievable but nothing (really weak).
“I more or less have a good short game and I am solid with the driver. Being honest, I never take a lesson and I never go to the range and hit balls. I don’t have much time for it.
“When I have the chance, the only thing that I like to do is go and play with the family or the friends.
“If I don’t play with a family or friends, I don’t go. I like to play by teams. We have teams tournaments in Majorca and I have the team from my club and enjoy playing with them, playing the tournament, then have lunch. That’s it.
“For me, it’s a hobby, I’m not crazy about going from two to 1.7. I just don’t care about the handicap. I just care about having fun and (trying to) play good.
“I’m a competitve guy and I like to do well and, when I do it, I try my best.
“(But) I don’t go to the range. If I have hours free at home, I don’t go to the range by myself.”
Asked what he needed to do to reduce his handicap to scratch, Rafa, with a chuckle, said: “Probably I need to not play tennis any more, that’s all.”
Hi Rafael, I feel the same as all of your fans. Please,please don’t retire just now. Due to unfortunate circumstances I have had to come to the UK and will miss the Aus open and so will miss seeing you play live. Praying I see you next year. Even if you cut down on the tournaments we can at least see you on Court on maybe the big tournaments. Please keep healthy and praying for you. Will always be my favourite and best tennis player. You have a lot of grannies that have adopted you.
I am also a grandma Up in years But I view you like a son Follow you daily watch you on the tennis channel and see you at the Us Open Tennis will not be the same without you Play on Be healthy and always be the Class Act that you are Hope to keep seeing in NY Thanks for being Rafa
Rafa has always been an amazing guy. He even signs autographs for his fans even if he lost a match. Now that’s a gentleman with a kind heart. Rafa should retire only when he thinks he is ready to hang up his racquet. I do prefer him winning his very long overdue win at this year’s Australian Open.
Rafa is No 1 no matter what.
VAMOS RAFA NO. 1 always and forever.
Oh Rafa, don’t say the R word please. We know it’s inevitable but We are not ready just yet. We want you to surpass Federers 20 grand salam record.vamos💪💪💪
Happy to hear this. The draw will be made in the next minutes. Vamos Rafa!!!
He needs 3 more slams before I will accept his retirement! He has to catch Roger!!!
It is inevitable but I think that if Rafa stays healthy he will be around for a few more years . If he manages his schedule and minds his body we will still have the joy of watching him play .
He has a full life outside of tennis but when he leaves tennis and sport will have a huge vacuum.
Rafa is magical to etch and a special person.
Rafa please don’t give up so easily n retire from Tennis. I am 83 yrs of age n have followed you since you were a teenager n loved you like another grandchild, n I have self adopted you n always signed off as “your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley”. My grandchildren call me Nan Shirley. Please don’t retire so soon Rafa my boy. Please give us a few more years of seeing you play. You can win a few more Clay Court Trophies n continue your reign as The King of Clay. Tennis will be dull without you. You are a gentleman on n off the Court n a great Sport. Wish I could see you play in Melbourne Rafa if this is possibly to be your final Hoorah. I will be praying for you Rafa my son. God bless you. Vamos Rafa in Melbourne. Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley. 🐂🏆👑🎉🎉💥💥
Rafa u need to do what your heart tells you to do! But don’t leave us yet I can’t imagine tennis without you, fighting for every point. You make the sport so much more fun. Vamos Rafa!
Holy shit Rafa, don’t leave us now!
On Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 11:24 PM Rafael Nadal Fans wrote:
> Rafael Nadal Fans posted: ” (AAP) – Rafael Nadal admits he’s planning for > retirement – but says the golf course and fishing can wait as he plots > possibly his last serious tilt at Australian Open glory. Rafa rarely utters > the R-word but, in a candid and colourful interview, ” >
Rafa…please don’t retire as we’re planning to leave Canada Jan.2020 for Australia, probably my last chance to see you play live, and it goes without saying that you have been my favorite tennis player since I watched you win your first French Open. I’ve always believed that you would have been celebrated as BOAT if not for all the injuries your brand of play caused you. More importantly you have been a example to all of us on how a man should act win or lose. Vamos Rafa