There are fears tennis legend Rafael Nadal may not take to the court again after the Spanish star shared alarming new details about his body and health.
The 37-year-old’s world ranking has plummeted to 237 with his last grand slam win more than a year ago.
He has been forced to pull out of major tennis tournaments as he battles serious feet and hip injuries.
But the biggest concern came in a heartbreaking interview where the 22-time grand slam winner revealed he struggles to “go down the stairs” and that his foot injury “does not let me live in peace”.
“It is difficult for me to even go down the stairs, and that happens sometimes,” Nadal told Movistar.
The Spanish sensation said he cannot escape pain but admitted it is “controllable” and finds it “difficult to be happy”.
“If it hurts, it is difficult to be happy. My character changes when it hurts more than necessary.”
Nadal admits his fascinating grand slam race with Novak Djokovic is well and truly over but hopes to come back for the Australian Open in 2024.
“Yes, I would like to play again and be competitive again,” he said.
“But the dream is not to come back and win Roland Garros or win Australia, so that people don’t get confused, right?
“I am very aware that at the time I am in my life, all that is very far away.
“And I don’t say it’s impossible because in the end I say things - I have said it a thousand times - all things in sport, they change very quickly.”
Nadal is currently two slams behind Novak Djokovic who has 24.
While Nadal is hoping to be back next year, Djokovic looks certain to hold on to his records.
Nadal said Djokovic has been blessed by superior fitness.
“I have been one of the most inactive players on the circuit for many years,” Nadal said. “I’ve missed four-and-a-half years of grand slams,” he said.
“That’s what the sport is all about. Djokovic is more successful because he has had a level of fitness and physique that has allowed him to play more than me.
“Yes, you can live frustrated with 22 grand slams, [but] Novak lives it in a more intense way.
“For him, it would have been a greater frustration not to achieve it. Perhaps that is why he achieved it.”2023-09-21T01:15:14Z dg43tfdfdgfd