Rafa Nadal admits it will be ‘difficult’ to emulate Roger Federer feat in…

Rafael Nadal has admitted that he thinks it is highly unlikely that he will emulate his long-time rival and good friend Roger Federer by playing professional tennis into his 40s. Federer retired earlier this year amid highly emotional scenes at the Laver Cup, and his absence has naturally led to fresh questions over when Nadal will also hang up his racket.

The Spaniard is now 36 and a half, yet is still among the very best players in the world, with the 22-time Grand Slam winner triumping in the Australian Open and French Open earlier this year. However, he has also struggled with injury issues, and was forced to withdraw ahead of his Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.

Nadal is currently in Turin ahead of the ATP World Tour Finals, where he will face Taylor Fritz in his first match on Sunday. Speaking to reporters ahead of the tournament, he was asked whether he felt he had another few years left in the tank.

But he appeared pessimistic about his chances of going on as long as Federer did, saying: “I don’t know, I can’t predict the future. It looks difficult, honestly, but at the same time when I was 28 or 29 for me it was super difficult to imagine myself playing at the age of 36, and here we are in a high position in the rankings and being competitive.

“I mean, you never know what can happen. It always depends on different facts, and some of them you may be able to control while others you don’t have the chance to control. So let’s see, I’m super happy to be where I am at the age of 36 and a half and I just want to keep going and enjoy the fact that I am playing. Every year that I am playing is a present.”

Nadal also discussed his chances of winning the ATP Finals, with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud also in contention. “I like to spend days on the Tour, first of all, and then of course the last couple of months I was not able to spend a lot of time on the Tour,” he said.
“I’m happy to be here, happy to be playing the last tournament of the year, sharing with the other top seven. I need practices, I need improvements, but I’m happy. I’m here to try my best and to try to achieve my goals.

“Of course it’s going to be a challenge, but I hope I will be ready to give myself a chance. That’s what I am looking for, just practising as good as possible with the right attitude and just trying to be ready for the action that’s going to start on Sunday.”

Following the Tour, all eyes will turn to Australia for the first Slam of the season in January. Nadal will once again be among the favourites, but much may depend on his fitness and how he deals with his troublesome knee issues.

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