Rafa Nadal’s uncle has given no promises that the 22-time grand slam champion will play on after Roland Garros following yet another injury setback at this year’s Australian Open. Nadal bowed out of the Australian Open in heartbreaking scenes as the Spaniard struggled against Mackenzie McDonald, before succumbing to a hip injury and playing on.
Nadal admitted after the match that he didn’t want to retire as the defending champion and appeared to offer the Melbourne Park audience an emotional farewell after he was knocked out. While plenty of speculation has swirled over Nadal’s eventual retirement from the game after his Wimbledon withdrawal, doubt has only heightened after the 36-year-old once again announced he would be out for around eight weeks.
This puts him in doubt for both Indian Wells and the Miami Open while he recovers from injury. Nadal is expected to take part in the clay court season and will defend his French Open crown.
Many predict Roland Garros could be his last opportunity to push one ahead of Djokovic in the all-time grand slam title race. Nadal’s long-time coach, uncle Toni, is one who believes Nadal will put all his efforts into playing in Paris.
However, in an ominous warning, uncle Toni admitted that it could be a week-by-week process for Nadal and there is no guarantee he will play on after the grand slam where he has won an unprecedented 14 titles.
“When one has been there for so many years, as is the case with him, and after having had so many problems in the last year, where he ended up too injured, I don’t consider the future beyond the next tournament,” Toni Nadal told Vanity Fair Espana.
“You never really know how things are going to go. It is true that Rafael has a very punished body, but it is also true that he has been on the professional circuit since he was 16 years old and that is something you pay for.
“There are many years hitting the ball and moving at high intensity. When you have that, it is easy for the body to fail here today and there tomorrow. I trust that he can lift the Roland-Garros trophy this year, and then we’ll see.”
Nadal will be hoping to start his clay court preparation soon to give him a chance in preparing for a French Open defence. In 2023, Nadal has a record of 1-3 and has dropped to World No.6.
Nadal congratulates Novak Djokovic on Aus Open win
While Nadal wasn’t able to successfully defend his Aus Open trophy, Djokovic went on to make history and record a 10th Melbourne Park title and equal Nadal with 22 grand slams.
And the Spaniard sent Djokovic a congratulatory message after the Serbian equalled his grand slam record. “Congrats Nole, to you and your team for this great achievement. Enjoy the moment!” he wrote.
Federer also sent Djokovic a message following his Melbourne Park triumph. “Incredible effort, again! Many congratulations,” the Swiss legend wrote on his Instagram story.