Rafael Nadal kept his quest for a calendar slam alive by beating Ričardas Berankis in the second round at Wimbledon 2022 in four sets 6-4,6-4,4-6,6-3 to register his 16th consecutive grand slam match win. This was Nadal’s 307th match win at a major as a result of which he overtook Martina Navratilova to bag 4th position in the all-time list. Only Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and Novak Djokovic are ahead of him.
A few weeks ago, Nadal wasn’t even sure about competing at Wimbledon while a few months ago, he wasn’t even sure about continuing playing tennis due to his injury concerns. Nadal, in the post-match press conference, spoke about his retirement. He joked that a couple of weeks ago he was close to it but here he is now competing at Wimbledon. “My philosophy is a couple of weeks ago I was close to it. Now I don’t feel that way (smiling). That’s my philosophy, no?” Nadal said.
Nadal said that he never fears the day he retires because he has led a very happy life even outside tennis while playing it. Apart from tennis, he was numerous things to do, and hence that won’t be a problem for him once he retires.
“It’s something that I am not — I never had fear about that day. I think I am happy that I had a very happy life outside of tennis, even if tennis is a very important part of my life for the last 30 years. I have been happy outside of tennis, without a doubt. I have a lot of things that I like to do away from tennis, so I am not worried about that,” he said.
‘All the changes in this life take a while but you need to adapt to the changes’: Rafael Nadal
He then acknowledged that with retirement, there will be a change and all changes in life take time to adapt. He said that it is ormal for people to talk about the retirement of great athletes because they’ve always been an inspiration for a majority of people.
“But, of course, when that day arrives, going to be a change. All the changes in this life take a while. You need to adapt to the changes, no? But it’s normal that the people talk about the retirement of the great athletes because in some way the athletes that have been for such a long time at the top of the game, even more in more popular sports, become part of the life of so many people. Happens to me the same with some football players, with golf players,” he said.
He gave an example that he loved watching Golf legend Tiger Woods play but now he doesn’t see him often due to his age. He imagines that his situation too will be same along with his compatriots- Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
“I love watching Tiger Woods. Now I can’t see him play that often. In a way that is a change in my life too. I imagine that people will think the same of me, or they will think the same as fans of Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic when they are not playing,” Nadal added.