After two operations, Rafael Nadal tempers expectations for comeback in (possibly) last year: “People should not have the wrong idea”

Rafael Nadal reiterated in an interview with channel Movistar+ on Monday that 2024 “may” be the last year of his career. The Spanish tennis legend, who has been struggling with his hip for a long time, also announced that he has undergone two operations.

“I have said it is possible that 2024 will be my last year, and I stand by that. But I cannot confirm it with 100 percent certainty, because I don’t know,” said Nadal, repeating what he had said in mid-May when the clay court king had to announce his forfeit for Roland Garros.

Nadal has not played a match since his early exit at the Australian Open in January and has since gone under the knife twice to correct his physical problems. He says he is “impatient to play again and be competitive again”, although he tempers expectations for a comeback:

“The plan is not to return and win Roland Garros or the Australian Open. People should not have the wrong idea. That’s all far away. I am aware of the difficulties I face. On the one hand I have my age and on the other hand there are physical problems.”

Nadal dropped out of the Australian Open with an injury. — © Getty Images

In the balance with Djokovic

Nadal has 22 Grand Slam titles on his list. That is two fewer than his Serbian rival Novak Djokovic. “Would I have liked to be the player with the most Grand Slam wins? No doubt. But it is not frustration, not obsession,” Nadal emphasizes. “I think Novak also experiences it more intensely. For him the frustration would have been greater.”

A worthy successor to Nadal has now emerged in Spain with Carlos Alcaraz. “He has the potential for everything,” says Nadal. “If I had to tell him one thing, it would be to keep working to get better.”

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