Rafael Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya hasn’t ruled out making a comeback from retirement, and the player still has the drive to compete at the highest level.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion acknowledged in May of last year that the 2024 tennis season would probably be his final one as a professional after having to miss the 2023 French Open owing to a hip issue that needed surgery.
The legendary tennis player stated at a news conference, “You never know how things will turn out, but my intention is that next year will be my last year.”
However, given that Moya believes Nadal has earned the right to choose when to hang up his racket, the former world No. 1 may choose to carry on with his playing career after the 2024 season.
When questioned “options that 2024 will not be his last year?” in an interview with Punto de Break, the Spaniard said, “Yes, why not? He has stated as much in previous interviews.
“He is entitled to choose the manner, location, and timing of his retirement. He wants to keep competing in this manner even if having a child has changed his circumstances.
After a season marred by injuries in 2023, Rafael Nadal participated at the Brisbane International at the start of this year, marking the beginning of his eagerly expected comeback. However, his comeback was short-lived as he was forced to miss the Australian Open due to a new injury.
Although Moya acknowledged his desire to compete at the highest level is still present, the most recent ailment is not as significant as the hip flexor setback.
“I’m shocked by his drive, his actions on the court, his never-ending yearning for more, and his drive to get better. It’s amazing. He claimed that this is what has shaped who he is.
When giving up would be the easiest thing to do, it took a lot of years to stay motivated. Observing his professionalism and the hardships he has had over the past year, along with how he recovered from the operation and day-to-day struggles, makes you realize what a credit he has to recover to a high degree.
In Brisbane, Nadal overcame Jason Kubler and Dominic Thiem in straight sets before losing to Jordan Thompson in three sets in the quarterfinal.
Even though there are still doubts regarding Moya’s ability to play back-to-back matches at a high level, he is certain that he can still compete with the best players.
Indeed, what makes sense? The former world number one commented, “He won the first two games well and nearly defeated a player who nearly defeated [Stefanos] Tsitsipas in Australia the following week.”
That is, really high. After just one game, I believe I have no qualms about Rafa’s ability.
The unknown is what would occur if he played with a top one day, won, and then played with another the next day. We are lacking that rhythm of competition that he has not yet encountered. I predicted that he would require roughly ten games to reach that 100% level.