Rafael Nadal reveals major Novak Djokovic regret and hints at changing his mind about tennis retirement

Rafael Nadal tennis Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal has confirmed he could perform a U-turn over his tennis retirement

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 20/09/2023

- 12:16

The Spaniard has won 22 Grand Slams throughout his career so far

Rafael Nadal has hinted he could play beyond 2024, despite previously suggesting next year would be his last in tennis.

The Spaniard has won a glittering 22 Grand Slams during his career so far, with only Novak Djokovic manging more.

Nadal is one of the best players of all time and, earlier this year, hinted at retiring next year.

But in an interview with Movistar Plus, he's now confirmed he could play on.

Novak Djokovic tennis

Rafael Nadal wishes he'd looked after his body more just like Novak Djokovic


"I said that possibly 2024 will be my last year," said the 37-year-old.

"I stand by that, but I can't confirm it 100 per cent.

"I think there's a good chance that it will be, because I know how my body is but how I'll be in four months, I don't know.

"I'm not sure what I'll be doing in 2024, because it will change completely depending on what my objectives are.

"If I don't recover, that's one thing, if I can compete at a level that excites me, that's another...

"My hope is, by mid-November, to know how I am physically. These are the deadlines I have set for myself."

Nadal does, however, have regrets over the way he's handled his body throughout his career.

The tennis veteran has long had issues with his back and his knees. Some even thought he'd retire in the 2000s, such was the extent of his issues.

And Nadal has conceded he should have looked after his body more, while also lamenting he didn't follow Novak Djokovic's example.

He added: "I would change a lot of things in my life and my career. I've made the wrong decisions when it comes to protecting my physique.

"I did it when I was younger, but for years I've been one of the best players on the circuit.

"[Novak] Djokovic has done better because the way he plays has allowed him to play more than me.

"But I was wrong because I thought my decisions were good."

And Nadal has also lifted the lid on surgery he's had in recent months, while revealing his foot still causes him pain.

"The last time I spoke in public I didn't know I had to have surgery," he stated.

"Actually, I had problems since a year and a half ago when I injured my ribs playing against [Carlos] Alcaraz in Indian Wells, although in between I won another Roland Garros.

"Sometimes the results make up for the day-to-day pain."

He added: "Sometimes my foot doesn't let me live in peace, it's hard for me to walk down the stairs, and that happens sometimes.

"If it hurts it's difficult to be happy, it changes my character when it hurts more than it should."

Nadal has ties to Barcelona - but is a fan of Real Madrid.

And he's now confirmed he'd love to be president of the La Liga giants, adding: "Yes, I would like to be president of Real Madrid.


Rafael Nadal tennis

Tennis star Rafael Nadal would love to become president of Real Madrid one day


"But at the moment there's nothing to say, because we have the best possible president.

"Afterwards, life takes many turns and you have to consider whether you are capable of certain things."

You may like