Rafael Nadal explains how he ‘disconnected from everything’ during tennis absence

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has revealed what he did after feeling he needed to “disconnect from everything” during his injury-enforced absence from tennis this year.

The Spanish great divulged how the sea has always been his “escape” and explained he recently enjoyed the experience of spending five weeks with his family at sea on his yacht.

Nadal has not competed since suffering a hip injury in his second round loss to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open in January.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion underwent surgery on the issue in June, having initially expected to be out for only six to eight weeks. The 37-year-old was forced to postpone his proposed comeback during the clay-court season.

The Mallorcan is intending to make a comeback in 2024 and admitted earlier this year that next season would likely be his last on tour.

In an interview with Movistar+, Nadal expressed how he felt he had to disengage during his lengthy spell away from the sport this season.

“I do a little gym, yes, but I also needed to disconnect from everything. The sea disconnects me a lot, I have the impression that the hours are completely different from those we have on land,” said the Spaniard.

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“The sea has always been my escape, even if it was always for three or four days, and this time it is for five weeks. I knew I would be okay, but my family had to be okay too, and that’s what happened.

“I was able to enjoy it, not be too attached to my cell phone or the television, follow the news, but it didn’t go any further. I tried to disconnect in every way possible. I watched very little tennis.”

During the interview, Nadal also admitted he regrets how he has managed his body and feels his great rival Novak Djokovic’s physique and playing style have helped him be better in this regard.

“I missed four and a half years of Grand Slams due to injury, this is the reality. But that’s also sport. That’s not why I’m better than Djokovic, because I played less,” analysed the former world No 1.

“He had a physique and a way of playing that allowed him to compete more than me. I have no choice but to recognise this, I did what I could. Sometimes I come back and win three Grand Slams, but it’s unlikely.

“I would change many things in my life and my career. I have made wrong decisions when it comes to protecting my physique. Djokovic, he has done better because his way of playing has allowed him to play more than me. But I was wrong for thinking that my decisions were good.”

The 37-year-old won his most recent Grand Slam title at the 2022 French Open, defeating Casper Ruud in the final. Nadal also triumphed at the Australian Open in 2022, coming back from two sets down to edge Daniil Medvedev in an epic final, but has suffered with various injuries since the spring of that year.

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