Manacor (Spain), May 19 (IANS) Rafael Nadal, who has pulled out of the French Open 2023 after failing to recover from a hip injury, is determined to end his career on his own terms, saying that he is going to try to make his last year not just a party but will attempt to compete at the highest level and win tournaments.
The 14-time champion will not play in the French Open for the first time since his tournament debut in 2005.
“I don’t like the word but I feel strong enough to say it: I don’t think I deserve to end like this. I’ve worked hard enough throughout my career for my end not to be in a press conference,” Nadal was quoted as saying by ATP Tour.
Nadal explained that his plan is to take time off. Although he is unsure when he will return, the Spaniard added the 2024 season will “probably” be his last.
“After that you never know what can happen. I’m going to try to make my last year not just a party, I’m going to try to compete at the highest level, give myself the option to try to compete and win tournaments on this clay tour. The reality is that we’ll have to wait for that,” he said.
The 22-time major champion and former World No. 1 in the ATP Rankings did not rush to his decision and instead listened to what his body told him.
“The first thing you do is not talk, you listen to yourself and you understand what is happening. You have to accept and go through a process of honesty with yourself,” Nadal said.
“But decisions are not dramatic, everything has a beginning and an end, unfortunately. I am just one more of all these endings of all the people who have been able to stand out in any field of life, ” he added.
The reason Nadal is taking time off now is so that he can give himself the best chance for a proper final run.
“My idea is that this last effort is worth leaving everything so that the last year will be something special. My tennis and above all my body will tell me what will happen,” the 36-year old said.
When Nadal retires, he said it will be the end of a stage of his life he has “been very happy with”.
“From then on I will start another stage, which will be different. But it doesn’t have to be any less happy. I have to take things naturally. I have plans for the next few months that I haven’t made in the last 20 years,” said Nadal.