Rafa Nadal has shot down speculation that he is on the verge of retiring from tennis, saying his career is ‘far from over’ despite widespread speculation he will soon call it quits.
The 22-time grand slam champion won the Australian and French Opens this year despite an injury-plagued season.
He is due to become a father for the first time in a matter weeks, a factor which will weigh heavily into his plans for the rest of his tennis career.
The Spanish champion has previously said that he didn’t want to start a family until after his career is over.
With wife Xisca heavily pregnant and expecting their first child in October, many believe we won’t see Nadal on the court much longer.
But speaking after receiving the ‘Camino Real Award’ from King Felipe VI at the University of Alcala on Tuesday, the 36-year-old made it clear that he does not intend to follow Serena Williams and Roger Federer into retirement anytime soon.
Williams and Federer both announced their retirements recently, with Serena farewelling tennis at the US Open and Federer set to do likewise at this weekend’s Laver Cup.
Nadal is supposed to be joining forces with Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray on Team Europe at the Laver Cup, however his participation is still under somewhat of a cloud due to the dramas surrounding his wife and unborn child.
Xisca was recently hospitalised in Mallorca due to complications with the pregnancy, with Nadal saying after his loss at the US Open that he needed to return home to be with her.
Speaking on Tuesday he said: “It is also true that it has been a complicated year, not only because of injuries, which have followed me throughout my career, but also because of personal and family news, which in this case is very good news.
“It is for this reason that, in a year full of joys and difficult moments, to receive recognition like today’s is a great joy.
“I hope that this event does not imply that my career is over, far from it, or at least that is not the intention.
“The intention is to continue to carry the name of Spain around the world while I am still active and competing.”
Will Rafa Nadal compete at Laver Cup?
Speaking to reporters at the US Open, Nadal threw his Laver Cup participation into doubt when he said he didn’t know when he would be back on court.
“I need to go back. I need to fix things. I don’t know when I’m going to come back,” he said.
“I going to try to be ready mentally. When I feel that I will be ready to compete again, I will be there.
“Now I have to go home, I have more important things than tennis to attend to.
“Decisions will be made based on how everything goes in my personal life, which comes before my professional life.
“It’s been a bit difficult for a few months but I want to finish the year with something very important that is my first child.”
If Nadal does play at the Laver Cup, he could be set to team up with Federer for the Swiss legend’s final match.
Federer revealed on Tuesday that he will only play one doubles match – on the first day on Friday – before making way for a replacement player.
The 41-year-old has been experiencing troubles with his surgically-repaired knee and won’t be able to play singles in London.