Rafael Nadal will only return if he feels he can win claims tennis icon

James Richardson
Rafael Nadal leaves the court
Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd after his defeat at the Australian Open

German tennis legend Boris Becker believes that we won’t see Rafael Nadal back on court unless he feels fit to win championships.

Becker doesn’t feel that Nadal has it in him to do a lowkey farewell tour.

With the dangling carrot of a double visit to Roland Garros in 2024, Becker feels that Nadal will focus his preparations on the French Open and the Olympics.

“Nadal is a role model for everyone. Millions of fans around the world want to see him back on the tennis court and not in the press conference, where he declares that he may not be able to play again,” Becker said according to Eurosport.

“I also believe that he would never come back if he doesn’t see a chance for himself. So, he’s not coming back to play the first or second round, but to win tournaments.

“His ultimate goal will always be Paris, will possibly be the [2024] Olympics in Paris, which will be played on clay at Roland Garros. But for that he needs the legendary match practice, and he can only get that at tournaments.

“So it’s hard to get started. He’ll get a bit of a kicking at first, but then we’ll go into February – if he stays healthy – and March and April, when it’s played on clay. Then he’ll have had his ten, 15 matches – and I would never bet against Rafael Nadal on clay.”

Becker feels that the world will be Nadal’s oyster when he leaves the game but tennis will struggle to replace the Raging Bull.

“He is not only a tennis legend, he is a sports legend,” Becker said.

“He is one of the most important sportsmen of the last 25 years. He has changed tennis and made it even more popular in his home country of Spain.

“He can become the president if he wants to. I think there would be a big gap if Rafa doesn’t play anymore, but I think he will pick up a racquet again.

“The clay court season will be his priority. If he is fit, he is still my favourite for the French Open, but even Rafael Nadal gets older eventually.”

In 2024, Roland Garros is in the unique position of hosting both a Grand Slam and the Olympics.

The 2024 Roland-Garros French Open is scheduled for 20 May – 9 June, 2024 while the Olympics tennis tournament follows in late July.

It will be the first time the Olympics tennis event has been held on clay since the Barcelona games in 1992.

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