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Rafael Nadal has discussed his potential retirement plans as he prepares to return from an abdominal injury that forced him to pull out of Wimbledon. The Spaniard has confessed he’s been close to ending his career multiple times in the past year over his chronic foot injury but is now set to go for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title at the US Open.
Nadal is gearing up for a comeback at the Montreal Masters, before heading to Flushing Meadows in hopes of winning his fifth US Open title. The world No 3 had been bidding for the Calendar Grand Slam at Wimbledon before he picked up a 7mm abdominal tear and was forced to withdraw on the eve of his semi-final, though he has already returned to training this week.
While announcing he was pulling out at the All England Club, the Spaniard revealed that he had considered retirement just weeks earlier. And he has now contemplated his post-tennis plans as he reflected on when his career would come to an end.
“I am sure that one day I will be a former elite athlete,” he told Talent on Board. “But I will always be an athlete because sport is my passion and I will practise it whenever my body allows it.” The 22-time Grand Slam champion also had his sights set on further committing to his Rafa Nadal Academy after he retired, though wasn’t so sure about becoming a coach.
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He added: “And I will always be involved with the Academy, which is a project that we started a few years ago and that is getting stronger and stronger. I even hope to spend more time on it than I do now as I continue to compete and travel the world.”
While Nadal knew the academy was home to potential future pros, he didn’t know whether he would be able to become a mentor to one specific player. “In the Academy there are players of all kinds and hopefully some future tennis star is already among us,” he explained.
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“I don’t know if I would be the ideal person to train a player… For now I don’t contemplate it, although, as the saying goes, never say I won’t drink this water.” And Nadal was confident that when he and his fellow Big Three stars Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer did retire, there would still be plenty of talent on the tour.
“In tennis there has always been generational change. We have had great stars that have been replaced by others, it is normal. Perhaps in our case what has happened is that we have been here for many years, but I am convinced that those who arrive will stay and take over,” he added.
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