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Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2023

Rafael Nadal ‘days numbered’ says Novak Djokovic’s former coach


Rafael Nadal will not play until he is 40, according to Novak Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker, after suffering another injury in his second round loss to Mackenzie McDonald.

Becker is a tennis expert for the Australian Open, which is live and exclusive on discovery+ and Eurosport, and suggested that his recent injuries might push him towards retirement.

“The question was: Will he play until he’s 40? I don’t think so. Yesterday was already the first step towards his retirement.”

“An injury like that is hard, and at this age, it takes even longer to get back into shape. I hope and pray that he will get well soon and that we will see him looking fresh again in Paris at the latest, but I think his days are numbered.”

Nadal was 6-4 5-3 down when he pulled up, and it has been confirmed today that he has suffered a grade two injury to the iliopsoas.

This means that the Spaniard will likely be on the sidelines for six to eight weeks, and will probably miss the sunshine double, in Indian Wells and Miami.

Nadal could be in danger of leaving the top 10 for the first time in 19 years.

However, the good news for the 22-time Grand Slam champion is that he should be back for his favourite part of the season, on the clay, to defend his Roland Garros title.

Despite suggesting that Nadal could be nearing towards the end of his career, Becker was full of superlatives for him.

“He is not only a tennis legend, he is a sports legend. He is one of the most important sportsmen of the last 25 years. He has changed tennis and made it even more popular in his home country of Spain.”

Becker adds, “He can become the president if he wants to. I think there would be a big gap if Rafa doesn’t play anymore, but I think he will pick up a racquet again.”

“The clay court season will be his priority. If he is fit, he is still my favourite for the French Open, but even Rafael Nadal gets older eventually.”

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.