Rafael Nadal - Roland Garros 2022

Emotional Rafael Nadal gives ambiguous update after Madrid defeat

Rafael Nadal and his fairytale send off at the Madrid Open ended in the fourth round as the Spaniard departed the Caja Magica for one final time after defeat to Jiri Lehecka. 

As is often the case these days when Nadal is present on a tennis court, fans who flocked to the Manolo Santana stadium were watching history unfold – the 7-5 6-4 loss was his last test in the Spanish capital.

The goosebump-inducing post-match antics sent shivers down the spines of those in attendance, and the 37-year-old was on the verge of tears as he addressed the crowd.

“I have been fortunate in my life to turn my passion into my job, I am privileged,” said the 22-time major champion.

“This is one of those times where when it arrives, it’s very difficult.

“I can thank everyone who helped me in my career. It’s a gift what you have given me here, the memories on this court are amazing.”

What next for Rafael Nadal in his fairytale final season?

Nadal expressed his desire to continue the good run of form that he has been able to produce in Madrid, but acknowledged that his body is ‘telling him to stop’.

If his physical health can hold up, it is likely that he will be present in Rome and at Roland Garros, two tournaments that have been synonymous with his name over the past two decades.

“Rome is one of these ones that I enjoyed a lot playing there, so I want to go there – I’m going to try,” Nadal said.

“I want to play well. I want to be competitive. I want to give myself a chance to play good tennis, and I’m going to keep working hard to try to make that happen.

“I hope to have been an example for new generations. I can only say thank you, there is nothing else. It is a difficult day, but my body is giving me signal that I should stop. Finishing here has given me so much pleasure. My dream was to finish here on court.”

Nadal’s form over the course of his time in Madrid is a marked improvement from what we have been used to seeing during this injury-stricken season.

It will give him positive sentiments as he heads to Rome and Paris, in the hope of putting on a final show in two cities that have welcomed his success in recent times.

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Jerome Coombe, Tennishead Writer, discovered his love for tennis journalism whilst studying languages and playing competitive tennis. He has a vast knowledge of tennis and strives to shed a light on all corners of the sport.