Rafael Nadal says he will not retire yet from tennis after receiving an award from Spain’s King Felipe at Alcala de Henares University, near Madrid.
After his bid for a men’s record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title ended in the fourth round of the U.S. Open earlier this month, Nadal said he needed to “fix things” and was unsure about his return to competitive tennis.
The 36-year-old Spaniard has been battling a chronic foot injury and was forced to contemplate retirement in 2021 and again this year after he won a men’s record 22nd major title at the French Open.
“The intention is to continue to carry the name of Spain around the world while I am still active and competing,” he said, after receiving the ‘Camino Real’ prize, an award that recognizes Spaniards that, through their professional work, strengthen the positive image of Spain in the United States.
At the ceremony, Spain’s King Felipe described Nadal as an “stellar sportsman” and praised his achievements despite his injuries.
“He learned very early on how to handle physical suffering and how not to not to lose his temper and concentration because of it,” the Spanish monarch said.