Rafael Nadal makes honest confession about prospect of his son playing tennis

Ewan West
Rafael Nadal in Brisbane
Rafael Nadal in Brisbane at an event in Brisbane

Rafael Nadal has admitted that he would prefer it if his son decided to play a sport other than tennis and that it “pains him” to say this given everything tennis has given him.

The legendary Spaniard declared he would, though, support his son, Rafa Jr, if he does decide to follow in his footsteps by choosing to play tennis.

In October 2022, Nadal and his wife Mery Perello welcome their first child – a boy they named Rafael Nadal Perello. The Spaniard is known to be a very private person who prefers to enjoy his personal life away from the public eye, and he has rarely been seen in public with his son.

In a recent interview with Hola Spain, Nadal said: “My wife likes that I’m still playing tennis. She likes for us to have that experience with my son.”

“(On becoming a father) It’s a radical change. No doubt about that. I think everyone that’s a father or a mother knows that it’s a change. You have to adapt to it.”

During his TV interview with La Sexta earlier this week, Nadal addressed whether he would like to see his son try to follow his path in the sport when he grows up.

“I would prefer if he plays another sport, if I’m being honest… It pains me to say it with everything that tennis has given me,” the 37-year-old said.

“If he wants to play tennis, I will support him 100 percent. I would never veto his decision to play tennis, but if he plays another sport, even better.”

READ MORE: Adorable pictures of Rafael Nadal and his son emerge following Brisbane trip

Despite the injury issues he has had to deal with, particularly in recent years, Nadal expressed his appreciation for tennis and refused to say he “hated” the sport at all.

“It would be very ungrateful of me [to say that]. Tennis has given me the opportunity to live a story that, without this sport, I would never have been able to live. I just get tired that my body doesn’t respond as I would like,” he explained.

Nadal also praised his great rival Novak Djokovic and named the 24-time Grand Slam champion as the greatest player in tennis history.

“The image he projects is worse than what he really is. He’s a good person, with his mistakes… but he’s much better than he looks. To me when someone with so much success has to project,” the 22-time major winner said.

“Novak breaks his racket but the next point he’s one hundred per cent, that’s why he’s the most successful player in the history of our sport. The numbers don’t lie, he’s the best in history.”

Nadal was due to make his return to action at the ATP 250 tournament in Doha next week, but he announced his withdrawal on Wednesday. The former world No 1 is expected to feature at next month’s Indian Wells Masters.

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal’s outfit for Indian Wells has been revealed ahead of his expected return