Rafael Nadal says his former coach and uncle Toni Nadal has apologised for suggesting that he might only play for another “two or three” years.
World No 2 Nadal has played only three tournaments so far this year as his campaign has once again been disrupted by injury.
He last competed competitively at the Indian Wells Masters at the beginning of March, but was forced to pull out of his semi-final against Roger Federer due to a knee problem.
The 32-year-old will make yet another comeback at the Monte-Carlo Masters this week, but he has conceded that he is not sure in what shape he will be at the start of the clay-court swing.
However, while he was out injured Toni told El Pais during an interview that Nadal is “an injured person who plays tennis” and raised concerns about his long-term future in the game.
“Rafael wants to continue playing, despite his physical problems,” Toni said. “That is what will continue to be decisive. Until when, who knows? Maybe two or three more years. What I’m saying is that Rafael is not a tennis player, he’s an injured person who plays tennis.”
Nadal, though, revealed during his Monte-Carlo press conference that Toni said “sorry”.
“He apologised to me. He came to the court and felt sorry for that,” the Spaniard said. “Toni wanted to say it in a positive way because of course I had many issues and he said it has a lot of value what he is doing, for all the problem that he had.
“Toni has conferences for companies every week so when you talk a lot sometimes you make mistakes.
“And of course it was a mistake for him, and he came to me and he felt sorry for that because he was a little bit over dramatic. I’m number one or two in the world and it’s difficult to be where I am being an injured person.
“Of course I have more problems than almost the rest of my competitors but I’ve been able to manage it well.”
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