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I’m not scared of retirement — Nadal

Rafael Nadal will keep the door open for another Australian summer of tennis, with the 22-time major winner not prepared to declare this his farewell…

Rafael Nadal will keep the door open for another Australian summer of tennis, with the 22-time major winner not prepared to declare this his farewell tour.

After almost a year out with a hip injury, the 37-year-old returns at the Brisbane International.

He will meet former US Open champion Dominic Thiem in a likely Tuesday night heavyweight bout after the Austrian scraped through qualifying to reach the main draw.

Rafa said the feeling of being physically ready to compete was what he had missed most.

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After a prolonged rehabilitation process that eventually led to surgery in early June, he finally has that feeling back.

“Have I thought about retirement? Of course, yes … in the low moments it’s 100 per cent human,” Rafa said on Sunday. 

“The problem about saying, ‘that’s going to be my last season’ is that I can’t predict what’s going on.

“That’s why I say ‘probably’. It’s obvious that it’s a high percentage it’ll be my last time playing in Australia.

“But if I’m here next year, don’t tell me, ‘you said it was going to be your last season’, because I didn’t say it.

Rafa, who last played at the Australian Open in January, initially thought he would miss just eight weeks and not require surgery. 

However, he was forced to sit out the French Open – a tournament he has won a staggering 14 times – and was told surgery was the route to his playing return.

 

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