Rafael Nadal says his state of mind was ‘close’ to retirement in the weeks after Roland Garros, after battling Wimbledon second round opponent Ricardas Berankis.
The Appearance of the Spaniard at Wimbledon was in serious doubt following his French Open win, after it was revealed his left foot was numbed from the painkiller injections needed to keep him on the pitch.
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The 36-year-old has made an incredible recovery to be at Wimbledon, but during the press conference after beating world No. 104, Nadal said he was close to announcing his retirement.
Instead, he opted to undergo treatments to relieve significant nerve pain in his troublesome left foot, which he missed most of the 2021 season in rehabilitation.
While early returns to Wimbledon would indicate that any treatment Nadal has undertaken has been successful, at least in the short term, he hasn’t been shy about sharing how close he’s come to stepping away from the tennis world.
“My philosophy is that a few weeks ago I was close (to retirement),” Nadal said.
“Now I don’t feel like that anymore. It’s my philosophy.
“It’s something I’m not… I was never afraid of that day. I think I’m happy to have had a very happy life outside of tennis, even though tennis has been a very important part of my life for 30 years.
“I’ve been happy outside of tennis, no doubt. I have a lot of things I like to do outside of tennis, so I don’t worry about that.
“But, of course, when that day comes, there will be a change. All changes in this life take time. You have to adapt to the changes.”
Nadal said the furious speculation over his retirement was understandable, predicting long-time rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic would face similar scrutiny.
“It’s normal that people talk about the retirement of great sportsmen because in a way sportsmen who have been at the top of the game for so long, even more so in more popular sports, are part of the lives of so many people. ,” he said.
“The same thing happens to me with certain football players, with golf players.
“I mean, for example, one person I like to see, Tiger Woods play. Now I don’t see Tiger Woods play as often. In a way, it’s also a change in my life.”
Rafael Nadal troubled by Ricardas Berankis in Wimbledon second round
The 22-time Grand Slam champion won the opening set and many would have predicted Nadal would go up a level on center court.
However, he was forced to work for the second set after losing serve and having to recover.
Nadal was then knocked out in the third, before recovering to close the game.
And in his on-court interview, Nadal bluntly admitted that improvement was needed before coming up against the dangerous Lorenzo Sonego in the next round.
“I have to improve. But I think the fourth set was much better,” Nadal said right after the game.
“I think it was a good level of tennis in that fourth set. The serve worked much better.
“In the end, I was able to play a bit more aggressive with the forehand.
“At first it was too many mistakes, but it’s a process. It’s important for me to accept that things are not perfect and [that I need to] Just keep working, be humble and accept the challenge.”
Nadal has now lost the third set in back-to-back matches but recovered to regain his momentum.
At 3-0 in the fourth set, the rain fell on center court.
Nadal and Berankis played in the drizzle for a little while, before the officials decided to close the roof.
However, the interruption of the match lasted almost an hour.
Although Nadal had no qualms about the process, the Spaniard admitted the court was ‘slippery’ on his return.
“It’s part of tennis, don’t complain,” Nadal said when asked if the roof closure had disturbed him.
with the agencies
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