‘Rafael Nadal is one of the most important athletes of…’, says analyst


The image speaks for itself. With the bag on his shoulder, slow step and bowed head, Rafael Nadal faces the changing room tunnel. The stamp occurs after the physical problems were once again the protagonists in his defeat in a Grand Slam. This time the hip prevented him from competing at his highest level against Mackenzie McDonald. The defending champion and first seed refused to retire when discomfort appeared in the second set. And by a score of 6-4, 6-4 and 7-5 he ended up losing to the American in the second round of the Australian Open. “I’m tired, sad, disappointed,” Nadal said after the match in the press room. “From here, I suppose that when things progress, the appropriate decisions will be made, because I want to continue playing tennis. Having said that, don’t think that I want to take a step back, it is not the case, but my current feelings are bad.” The 36-year-old Spaniard opened up about an increasingly common situation. In the last three Grand Slams he has ended up with significant physical discomfort, which has led to considerable recovery time. “It is evident that it is again, that in the last three Grand Slams I have not been able to finish any in good condition: two abdominal tears, here I do not know what happens in the hip…”, recalled the 22-time Grand Slam champion. “We can come here, put on a brave face -which is what I do- and accept things -which I also do-, but you must not fool yourself and make an optimistic speech when today you are not.” Barely an hour after saying goodbye to the Australian Open, the Spaniard could not hide his disappointment: “I have never been in a position to complain. Life has given me and gives me so many positive things that I have no right to complain, but it is clear that things are happening and at a sporting level the glass fills up and there comes a certain moment when the water can come out.”

Becker talks about Rafa Nadal

In a conversation with Eurosport, Becker reflected on the legacy that Rafael Nadal has composed in the sport. “He is not a tennis legend. He is a legend of the sport, he is one of the most important athletes of the last 25 years,” said the 55-year-old. “Will he play until he is 40 years old? I don’t think so, yesterday [referring to Nadal’s Australian Open loss against McDonald and his injury] is already a first step towards his retirement. An injury like this is tough and at this age it takes even longer to get back into shape,” he asserted.

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