Rafael Nadal set to ‘follow personal calendar’ in effort to delay retirement
Rafael Nadal has “plenty of energy to keep playing” after winning a record 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, but recognises “things can change quickly.”
Nadal has started the 2022 season in perfect fashion, winning both the Melbourne Summer Set and the Australian Open.
The Spanish legend won a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam after performing a miraculous comeback to beat US Open champion and World number two Daniil Medvedev in the final.
Nadal’s Summer Set victory also saw him become the first male player in the Open Era to win a title in 19 different seasons, beating Roger Federer and Andre Agassi’s record of 18.
This comes after a five-month-long absence after Nadal suffered a foot injury in August. This was then compounded when Nadal contracted Covid-19 in late December to further hamper his ‘Happy Slam’ preparations.
As such, questions were raised regarding his fitness levels. However, Nadal answered these doubts by playing numerous lengthy matches and performing well.
Nadal has previously revealed that he feared he may never make a return to competitive tennis.
In his acceptance speech, Nadal said “one month and a half [ago] I would say that maybe there is a chance that this was going to be my last Australian Open, but now I have plenty of energy to keep going.
“I am going to keep trying my best to keep coming next year. Things can change quick. I feel lucky to have the chance to compete that way for the last month.
“Of course, after this month of practicing hard, playing very long matches, the foot was able to hold all this stress, of course I feel more confident that I’m going to have the chance to keep going, keep fighting, keep enjoying this beautiful sport.
“I just feel confident now that I’m going to have my chances to keep playing tennis for a while.”
Nadal also revealed he got through the five hour 24 minute long final pain-free, saying “tonight was no pain at all. I was able to run without limitations.
“I don’t know what can happen tomorrow, but I feel lucky that I was able to play, to feel free to just play tennis.
“I know things can change because, as I explained the other day, my injury is difficult to fix, impossible really.
“But I was able to play for one month. That’s a lot, something unexpected, something that gives me plenty of energy to keep going. I just want to enjoy this moment and, of course, try to keep going.
“I really enjoyed the feeling to be back on the tour. I’m going to try to follow my personal calendar.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 30, 2022
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