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Rafael Nadal Wimbledon 2022

Rafael Nadal dangles ‘never say never’ on prospect of being a coach

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Rafael Nadal is not worried about the future of tennis once the ‘Big Three’ of himself, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic eventually all retire. 

Nadal feels that, while his generation has been a somewhat special case, tennis has always moved in generational cycles.

In fact the 22-time Slam champion has not ruled out the possibility of continuing in the sport as a coach to a future talent.

“In tennis, succession has always been generational,” Nadal told Talento a bordo. “We’ve had big stars that have been replaced by others, it’s normal. Perhaps in our case, what’s happened is that we’ve been doing this for many years, but I’m sure that whoever comes along will be here to stay and will take over.”

The ‘Big Three’ era has arguably spanned more than 20 years since Federer shocked Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001 before claiming his first title there in 2003.

While uncertainty remains around whether Federer will make a full tour comeback, Nadal and particularly Djokovic look set to continue competing potentially for a number of years.

Looking ahead to his retirement, Nadal expressed how he will remain heavily involved in sport after hanging up his racket.

“Someday I’ll be an ex-elite sportsman,” he admitted. “But I’ll always be a sportsman because sport is my passion, and I’ll keep practising as long as my body lets me.

“I’ll always be involved in the [Rafa Nadal] Academy, which is a project we started a few years ago and that’s gathering more and more strength. I even hope to be able to spend more time on it than I currently do, since I still compete and travel around the world.

“At the Academy there are all sorts of players and I hope that some future rising tennis star is already among them.

“I’m not sure I’d be the best person to train a player.

“For now, I’m not considering it, but as the saying goes: ‘Never say never’.”

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