‘He is sounding weary’ – Chris Evert fears imminent Rafael Nadal retirement
Grand Slam legend Chris Evert has stated she feels that the career of Rafael Nadal is drawing to a close after the Spaniard hinted at the prospect of retirement in the not so distant future.
The 13-time Roland Garros champion was taken to a fifth set for just the third time in his career by Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Paris Slam as he triumphed 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
The 35-year-old demonstrated his typical grit and determination to squeeze past the 21-year-old Canadian and set up a highly-anticipated 59th career showdown between Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic, after the Serb downed Diego Schwartzman earlier in the day on Sunday.
Despite the impressive hard fought victory, Nadal admitted post-match that he was unsure about how much longer his body will enable to him to carry on playing for – sparking fears of imminent retirement.
Discussing the ATP veteran’s comments, 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert felt that it sounded like the Spaniard was preparing for the end of his career.
The American told Eurosport, “He is sounding weary. There is so much more that comes with being a professional tennis player than playing a match, but he sounded tired.
“The respect I have for him because he is 35 years old and he can keep getting psyched up every single day for these matches.
“I started burning out in my early 30s. When I woke up in the morning I didn’t have anything in me, so I don’t know where he gets this passion and fire in his belly from.
“I am sure with the injury, I don’t want to say he is falling apart, but you get a little more affected by the playing and training.
“It is going to happen, whether it is next year, two years, three years. I would not give him more than two or three years to play tennis.”
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