Rafael Nadal: “For the moment I’m playing tennis. We’ll see for how long”

“Winning is what you play for,” Rafael Nadal told AFP in a telephone interview on Monday.

“In high-level competition, what counts is victory. That is a reality.

“And beyond the victory, there is an even greater personal satisfaction because at certain times I have had to make sacrifices to achieve the goal.”

Rafa was just 19 when he first won at Roland Garros and quickly established himself as the King of Clay by winning four French titles in a row.

“What has changed is age,” he laughs. “The only negative is that I am 15 years older.

“Everything else, the basic and important things in my life, have not changed much.

“I still live practically in the same place, with the same friends and the reality is that my way of life when I am out of tournaments has changed relatively little.”

– Coronavirus –

There is another negative, though, and that is the coronavirus pandemic which has killed over a million people since the outbreak emerged in China last December.

With tennis in lockdown for several months, Rafa struggled to keep his body and game in condition, prompting his decision to skip the rearranged US Open to focus on Roland Garros.

“After the confinement I didn’t feel great, I trained very little for many weeks,” he said.

“I couldn’t train in the way I wanted, especially for the first two months after the confinement.

“My body suffered a little from the whole lockdown. The reality is that for bodies like mine with a lot of kilometres on the clock, a drastic stop makes the return to normal work much more complicated.

“In my case, the body responded badly for a few months and little by little things started to sort themselves out. They were tough weeks.”

Rafa admits that he watched with “sadness” as the virus unfolded across the world.

“I am a sensitive person and when I see so much suffering, so many deaths, so many people having a bad time… I had a bad time,” he said.

“At one point I stopped watching the news because it made me so sad it wasn’t healthy. I live with worry and now it seems that things are getting worse again.

“I hope this nightmare will be over as soon as possible and that people can go back to living in a more pleasant and happier world.”

As for what Rafa will be doing in another 15 years time, the Spaniard is loathe to commit.

“I am not into making such long-term plans. But I have a lot to do, with my foundation, the academy and other things that are about to start.

“For the moment I’m playing tennis… we’ll see for how long.”

Source: AFP

134 comments

  1. According to Spanish language PuntodeBreak, Rafa has confirmed he will play both Paris and London. The publication posted a picture of him practicing hard at the Academy. Hopefully getting back to work will alleviate some of the sadness the virus has brought to him. Adversity usually makes Rafa stronger.

    I hope these two tournaments prepare him for the Australian Open and that he can triumph there again.

    Good luck Rafa.

  2. Rafa on Twitter today with a pic of his practice saying he’s getting ready for Paris-Bercy.
    Hoping it all works out well.

      • Hi Mimi, I may have to revise my statement because PuntodeBreak is the only news organization to confirm that Rafa will play London. They are usually accurate in their reporting. I’ve checked with the French media and with the ATP. Nothing yet on the finals.

      • Hi Margo, thanks🙏 We will wait and see……but I think if Rafa plays Paris, then he should play London too 😊

  3. I hope I am not being a worrywart about tournaments to be played before season’s end.

    The Vienna Open, the Paris Masters, and the ATP Finals are all indoor competitions where the virus is much more easily spread and where the top players will participate. It may be unrealistic but I’m hoping for zero-positive virus tests.

  4. Congratulations to Andrey Rublev, winner of the St. Petersburg Open, his fourth title this year 👏

    Andrey on Rafa: “He is the best athlete in history.”

    • Mimiiiii …. I am not happy 😤 about him jumping in front of Diego in the Race to London. Hopefully Berrettini won’t move ahead too. I wouldn’t grumble had it been DelPotro or Stan.

      I was just looking up those who already qualify for the Finals. Roger is out and Rafa may not play so that leaves two possible places for lower ranked players to make it. I read that only Berrettini may stand in the way of Diego making it but I didn’t confirm that. It’s still kind of early because qualification depends on the results of the Paris Masters; the last tournament that will decide the ATP Finals entry list. Diego has been informed of your treachery 😂😂 and no, I didn’t tell him😉

      • Margo, Diego is playing this week, and hopefully he will do well and add 250 points. Good luck to him🍀❤️ No worries, Diego already knew I also like Andrey and FAA 😂 I trust you👍😉

    • Yes congrats to Andrey! 😊 I hope both he and Diego reach the ATP finals, but you’re right, no spectators this year. I would have bought tickets, it’s only a couple of hours away from where I live, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to see them both one day, and Rafa again of course!

      • jas_uk, both are in good position to qualify, good luck to them! I was there twice, saw Dimitrov and Alex lifting the trophy. My best experience was the final between Alex and the current world no 1. Surely I was acting like a “super” Alex’s fan lol. I would love to visit O2 again, but unfortunately I heard ATP Finals will move to Italy from 2021 to 2025.

        I saw Rafa played Andrey in 2017 at the US Open, but have not seen Diego yet. I definitely would love to see Rafa a few more times before he retires!

  5. Rafa and Maria celebrate their first wedding anniversary today. Gosh, how time flies! Wishing them both continued good health and happiness.

  6. Rafa tells how he beat ND at Roland-Garros.

    “My last match on clay against Novak was in Rome last year [2019]. There, I was coming out of a very bad spell and played very well. I used that as a kind of reference. We went out with a more or less clear idea of what we wanted to do.

    And then the more complicated part came: putting it into practice. Luckily, yesterday was one of those days when I was able to do it. I felt my game, and everything worked perfectly,” Rafael Nadal said.

    • Margo, so proud of Rafa and his team! Rafa played a fantastic final, one of his best matches in his career 👏 I have watched the replay on TC Plus four times🤗 Maybe I will watch a couple more times?

      According to Tennishead.net on October 9, Goran Ivanisevic, one of ND’s coach, says Rafa would have ‘no chance’ against ND in the current conditions at RG. He also says ND brought his body, his head and preparation to perfection. Really? So laughable😂

      • Yes Mimi, I read his boastful remarks but Rafa served ND the bagel I was hoping for 😂 Goran can say whatever he wishes.

        And Diego, Rafa still amazes him. He really looks up to Rafa but is doing everything in his power to beat him again and move up in the rankings but, of course, Diego has plenty of company in that endeavor.

        My hopes are that Rafa can practice the way he wants and that his body will be kind to him.

      • Thank you for your kind words Khawartaimoor. I couldn’t do it without the participation of all of you here.

        I think we have a very special group of fans here. We delight in the exchange of information about Rafa’s incredible accomplishments, past and present. Wins are joyous and losses sting but, like Rafa, we bounce right back for his next challenge.

        The good news is that Rafa is looking forward to the Australian Open, if he feels he can do it safely. Whether or not he decides to play before the AO remains to be seen. It’s a tough decision.

  7. It’s great to see that Rafa’s 20th grand slam trophy has taken pride of place at the Rafael Nadal Museum along with the others. I must visit the museum some time in the future, if only to examine whether there are any bite marks on any of the silverware.

      • Yes, for sure he can make room for more👍😉
        My husband had the same question after the final as we both visited his academy last year. I told him Rafa can put his trophies a bit closer together, then he should have plenty more room 😅

  8. Diego visits Rafa’s academy and trains with his uncle, Toni Nadal, to prepare for his upcoming tournaments. Good luck to Diego!

    Also good luck to FAA against Alex, and Andrey against Borna tomorrow🍀🍀

    • And Mimi, as you know Diego reached his highest ranking ever at #8. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Is he headed for the ATP Finals in London? Imagine how proud his family must be. Go Diego Go!

      • Margo, yes, good luck to Diego, he has a very good chance for one of the last two spots.
        He also has a girlfriend for about a year I think, so happy for him!

    • Diego is a true inspiration to all the young athletes out there. I’m not surprised that he is good friends with Rafa.

  9. It’s the first time I am reading such a claim but according to the NYPost ND requested that he be docked the first set against Pablo Carreno Busta instead of being disqualified at the USOPEN. I hope it’s a joke.

    • Margo, world no 1 pleaded his case for approximately 10 minutes to try to avoid a default. I am not surprised that it was one of his suggestions lol. The rule is the rule. Thank you USTA!

    • Djokovic forfeiting the set as a penalty would really be just forfeiting one game since he was down 6-5 to Pablo.

      I also read that Nole used the argument that she didn’t have to go to the hospital to justify going easy on him.

      • True David but don’t forget he has super powers. Why didn’t he just touch her to heal any damage he may have caused.

        He has committed to play Vienna and expects to win. Before agreeing to play, he requested that his environment and food preferences be fulfilled so he could be at his best. Isn’t this unfair to the other players who may not have such great accommodations? Most of the top ten will also compete.

        Rafa was invited to play but tournament director Straca said it is unlikely.

  10. Pauline, A movie? OMG! If the Americans make a movie they may have the KBG [now the FSB] storming the Four Seasons with the military and tanks and looking for non-existent hotel employees who aided Sam to flee Russia. 😂

    His was a daring escape and that’s why I wrote Sam Querry out-Putins Putin. Dealing with the ATP may be the least of his worries, if you get my drift.

    • He had better not go near any windows!

      In all seriousness I stand by my opinion that unless he has a compelling argument to make he should be sanctioned for his escapade.

      • Not attempting to change your opinion Pauline but a thought came to mind when I read that the CEO of the Hamburg Open said he didn’t understand why Sam thought there was the possibility of his son being separated from his parents. Could someone have done a poor job of translating coupled with the unexpected phone calls about doctors and a pediatrician examining them?

        I haven’t located any updates from the ATP.

  11. Can somebody tell me wheter rafa is going to play paris and atp tour finals. That is still not clear to me. I personally hope that he is going to play paris open and atp tour finals.

    But then it could affect his preperation for the australian open. I really hope that next year if its if they are still playing. He would play less clay court tournaments. One tournament should be enough so that he would have energy left in the tank to compete for the titles at the end of the season. Nadal doesnt need to play many claycourt tournaments anymore he has proven himself as the greatest claycourt player ever.

    • Marijnt, after Roland Garris Rafa said that he and his team would decide about the rest of the season and that he.might not play again in 2020. I haven’t seen anything in the press that indicates that he has made a decision. Last year he played Paris but dropped out due to an injury which thankfully turned out to be minor and recovered to play in London.

      My bet is that he doesn’t play Paris and London due to the upswing of Covid-19 in those cities as well as the fact that he may have to spend part of December in Australia.

  12. American Sam Querry, ATP world number 49, was withdrawn from the St. Petersburg tournament because of a positive coronavirus result. His wife and child also tested positive.

    Initially he was told to quarantine at The Four Seasons hotel if they were asymptomatic but then his wife reported mild symptoms. Sooo, he was then directed, by Russian protocol, to quarantine in a hospital for 2 weeks.

    Querry wasn’t having it. He and his family left the hotel at 3:45am and flew by private jet to an undisclosed nearby country that would permit them enter even though they have the virus.

    The ATP is looking into the incident as he ignored protocols. I wonder if he faces sanctions and if so what will they be.

    • Sam Querry out-Putins Putin!

      BRAVO.

      I hope he and his family recover from the virus.

      Correction: they left the hotel at 5:45am.

      • Margo, I read from Tennis World by Claudiu Pop that Sam Querrey risks to receive a fine up to $100,000 and a three years suspension.

    • Querry and family fleeing Russia like escaped prisoners! I was shocked when I first heard about this. What on earth possessed Querry to take such drastic, and seemingly desperate, action without any regard to the consequences? It’ll be interesting to hear his side of the story and what level of punishment will be issued.

      • Mimi, True but 100,000USD is a fine that Querry could pay without any financial hardship. A three-year suspension is an entirely different matter. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

        Lorna…I thought I was reading a spy thriller and yes, can’t wait to hear his side of the story.

        I can only surmise that his son’s safety was what lead him to take the action he did.

        Four days prior to the positive results they all tested negative. They were told they could quarantine at the St. Petersburg Four Seasons. They subsequently received a phone call, out of the blue, from some doctor who would check them???? I would have been spooked. Sam didn’t open the door and made an appointment for the next day. Between that time Sam decided to leave Russia.

        The above has not been confirmed by Sam or his wife. I too want to know what transpired that led Sam to leave Russia.

        I read the Russian government’s article in Tass. It is totally one-sided and claims Querry has tarnished both the ATP and the tournament. It also stated that Querry had the opportunity to stay at the “luxurious” Four Seasons without any mention of them possibly being forced to stay in some hospital for the duration of the family’s quarantine and possibly being separated from their infant.

        I say BULLOCKS!

        No matter what, unless it is clear that Querry left just for the heck of it, I think he did the right thing under the circumstances. He supposedly took precautions to keep his distance from others until he reached the AirBnB where he is staying.

        Fognini also tested positive after leaving the French Open and couldn’t play Sardinia according to reports.

        Hopefully the St. Petersburg tournament did contact tracing. Sam could inform the ATP about anyone he came in close contact with.

    • Why on earth would he take along an eight month old baby during a pandemic? Not smart.

      FYI Margo the Four Seasons St. Petersburg is one of the most luxurious hotels on tour. Google some photos.

      His actions merit a suspension and I hope it will be of significant length.

      • Pauline, I can’t agree more about taking his infant son but he did it.

        I was writing from the perspective of what he did after he and his family were diagnosed positive.

        If Sam was initially directed to quarantine at the Four Seasons for two weeks but then receives a phone call about possible hospitalization I would have been spooked. I don’t know what was going on in his mind but he has questions to answer for sure.

        Perhaps I shouldn’t have put luxurious in caps. I was trying to emphasize that Tass made it seem as if Sam left the Four Seasons for no reason whatsoever even though the hotel is a five-star establishment.

        On one hand it can’t be denied that both the ATP and tournament officials are taking this very seriously but tournament officials said he would be welcomed in future tournaments perhaps leaving a window open to the ATP not sanctioning him too severely.

        Waiting for his side of the story.

        Zverev stated that Russia doesn’t have a good image in the media and that it’s not that bad. I’d like to know by what standards his comment is based on.

      • Margo re: your 3:28 pm comment-Absolutely we have to wait for his side of the story. Innocent until proven guilty. My bad for not including that fact. Sounds as if this story could be somewhat complicated.

        Nevertheless if he doesn’t trust the situation in Russia, rightly or wrongly, why did he opt to play there? There are other tournaments going on right now. Eager to learn what the final outcome will be. Then will look forward to the movie.

  13. Found this funny note from a Federer Fan who still thinks Rafa is the GOAT :

    “Assume that aliens invade our planet and before executing entire human race give us a chance to pick 1 human tennis player to compete against them. If we win we get our planet back. The aliens are much physically much better than us, so they also give us a choice of tennis court. So now the entire human race depends upon 1 tennis player. Whom would you choose??? I think the best option would be Rafa on clay court. Even though i am hardcore Federer fan, if its survival or death then you got to choose Rafa on Clay as the best option. If you use this logic, then GOAT would be Rafa only no?”

  14. Three days later and I still marvel at what Rafa has achieved with the help of a solid coaching team behind him. Carlos Moya and the rest of the team spent months nurturing Rafa, both mentally and physically, back to the level he is at now.

    Moya : “We have achieved our basic goal, bringing back the good old Rafa, a competitive one who enjoys playing tennis. People who do not see the day to day are not aware of what all these months have been. They have not been easy at all…..In addition to his head, we have had to deal with the situation that has affected everyone since February or March.”

    During the RG fortnight Rafa and his team went quietly about their business, focusing on Rafa and working hard on their game plan. In contrast, Novak’s team got to the final and thought they had it in the bag! Indeed, most of the pundits had Rafa beaten before he stepped on to the court.

    Goran Ivanisevic : “I’m counting on Novak – Nadal in the final, in which, in my opinion, Nadal has no chance in these conditions, on this clay and with Novak, who has got into his head…. I went a little too far but in my opinion Novak is the number one favourite. He brought his body, his head and his preparation to perfection.” How wrong he was. Too much pressure on his player.

    Here is a classic case of humility versus overconfidence. The whole event reads like a fable with a moral from which we can all learn and pass on to generations to come.

  15. With Rafa equalling Roger’s grand slam record, debate about the GOAT is naturally gathering pace. However, to hear Toni Nadal talk, you would think that he was on Roger’s pay roll.
    Here is what he said in an interview with Radio Marca yesterday (translated from Spanish via Google) : “I am very happy to see my nephew win again. Rafa played an extraordinary game against a great rival, it is a very adverse situation.” He went on to say that the closed roof only made Rafa stronger, despite many thinking his chances would be diminished. “I say that the best is Roger Federer because he has more titles in tournaments, more victories, more weeks [at] number one and everything counts.”
    The facts he’s stated may be true, but what happened to diplomacy? Why get drawn into the debate like that? Is he using reverse psychology on his nephew? Surely the sensible thing to say would have been that it’s best to decide on the GOAT when both players have ended their tennis careers, but that’s Tony Nadal for you. I wonder whether Carlos Moya would have remarked in the same way.

    • Toni has always acted that way. Remember the story of Rafa winning an under-12 tournament at age 9 against players with several more years experience than he had. It was a really big deal and the family wanted to celebrate. Toni looked up what had happened to all the previous winners and none had become top players. He showed it to Rafa and told him not to let things go to his head. To me that sounds cruel but he must believe the ends justify the means.

      BTW I will be vacationing in Mallorca next October (🤞) and would be happy to meet up with any and all Rafans.

  16. He’ll sort it out within the next year. He mentions age a lot (always has) and 35 is kind of a milestone. I think we’ll see him for 2021 but then who knows. I just feel happy that we have been privileged to be part of the army of fans around the world that have watched snd loved him since he was a teenager.

    • As to continuing on the tour, Rafa has been quoted as saying that he might not play London or other events for the rest of the year so that he can prepare for the AO. (Obviously he wants to play down under). He is quoted as saying that he and his team will decide within the next few days. The big issue for all the players is the 14 day quarantine required by the government of Australia prior to any competition. I’ve read that there will be designated hotels but training facilities will be made available to tour players.

      Playing indoors in London with no fans doesn’t sound like Rafa’s cup of tea. Plus there is the increasing danger of the pandemic. On the other hand Theim might make a play to move up in the rankings to No. 2 with a win in Paris and equaling his 2019 finish at the London ATP finals, though that seems improbable.

      I’m sure Rafa and his team will figure it out and make the best decision.

    • Jill, Rafa has expressed his desire to play the Olympics and if he is healthy he will surely play Roland-Garros unless something beyond his control keeps him away.

      Japan has stated that no matter what the Olympics will be held.

      I don’t think it’s a stretch but I do see him playing the 2021 season. We will have to wait Rafa’s decision.

  17. Great interview and very revealing too. I think that Rafa will manage his schedule carefully from now on , it will not be about being Number 1, he will concentrate mainly on Slams . He’s right to manage his body and that will prolong his career.
    He has a full life and lives a normal life outside of tennis . He was awesome on Sunday and I have rarely seen him play so well. Great tactics .
    I hope we have this wonderful player and person still playing a the top level for another 3/4 years .
    Rafa and Roger adorn the game . While Rafa is my all time favourite I respect Roger .

  18. According to ATP Tour, Andy Murray, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jeremy Chardy, and John Millman have been elected to the ATP Player Council. Novak Djokovic, John Isner, Vasek Pospisil, and Sam Querrey all resigned prior to the US Open. Kevin Anderson is the Council President, formerly Council Vice President.

    • Hi Mimi, thanks for the news. I am still trying to get my bearings after Rafa’s historic win [still making history, he is] and his subsequent phone call posted by RNF. I can only imagine what he means by “…other things that are about to start.” I don’t have the heart to speculate at the moment.

      On the Players’ Council I don’t see a VP listed. Did you find anything on that.

      Word is that Andy and ND have a good relationship so let’s see what positive effect Andy may have.

      On the ATP site Andy and Roger are listed as at-large members. Andy has a lot to deal with already with trying to raise his ranking, family matters and possible health issues. I wish him good health.

      I found it curious that the ATP did not mention singles players over 100. Is it possible all the over 100 ranked players “absconded” to the PTPA?

      Here’s what the ATP posted for each group of rankings:

      1-50 Singles: K. Anderson [P], FAA, J. Millman, Rafa

      51-100 Singles: J. Chardy and Yen-Hsun Lu

      1-100 Doubles: J. Melzer and Bruno Soares

      These guys have an enormous task ahead of them. A larger picture of what they can accomplish more than likely depends on the ATP, ITT, the four Slams and possibly the WTA.

  19. Rafa’s uncle Toni Nadal was it tears during an interview at the academy when he watched Rafa lift the trophy. What a proud moment for him.
    ( on Instagram : rafanadalacademy)

    • Well I hope he is humbled. I saw him trying to hide his face so no one could see his tears.

      The next time he says someone else is better than Rafa I will personally go to Mallorca to give him a piece of my mind. Were those pronouncements made to get Rafa to work harder? [Rafa always works harder.] Were they made to throw off Rafa’s opponents? Or was he just being controversial? I have no idea.

      • If I go to Mallorca it will be to give Toni a good tongue lashing and hopefully I will see Rafa. If you help me with Toni you are welcome to come along. We have to do a sneak attack on Toni otherwise Rafa will throw us out because I know he will defend his uncle😂

  20. Personally , I hope Rafa continues his tennis career until he can no longer play at the championship level he has enjoyed throughout his career . I think he has at least 3 years left barring the unforseen . Hopefully , we all pray that the virus can be controlled sometime in the foreseeable future as it has crippled our world . Notwithstanding , we have to enjoy our lives and continue to make the best of it . Rafa has done it like none other !

  21. This glennis in the lsle of man you did a great job. Very proud of you wish you well give mallorca a hug for me miss it so much very sad all the very best for your family think the world of you rafa

  22. We’ll see. If he and Mery were to have a baby, I’m not sure he’d want to be away from home so much. It would be kind of nice if, should they decide to call it a day, he and Roger did so together!

    • I am completely expecting the Farewell Fedal Tour to happen at some point, but I hope it’s not for a while yet. If it does, I hope it will be possible to have full stadiums by then. It would be too sad to see either leave the sport without the send-off they deserve.

  23. Rafa has had a lot of time for introspection during these past months of the pandemic. He may now be at a crossroad.

    All the best to Champion Nadal.

    • You may be right Margo. I was so moved reading the contents of Rafa’s AFP telephone interview in which he was very reflective about life. Such a genuine and honest human being.

      • Absolutely Lorna. Rafa’s stark words bring clarity to the scourge SARS-CoV-2 has wrought upon the world both physically and mentally. He has strong shoulders that will help him persevere.

        RAFA ROCKS

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