WATCH: Rafael Nadal’s adorable son nearly upstages his father as tennis great makes moving comments about his family

Shahida Jacobs
A happy Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning his tennis match

Rafael Nadal admits he would love to continue his playing career “a little bit longer” in order to create more memories for his family, especially his young son Rafael Jr.

With Nadal announcing that this year’s Madrid Open would likely be his last, there were several high-profile celebrities – including footballers, television presenters, actors and singers – in attendance at La Caja Magica on Thursday for his first-round match against Darwin Blanch.

But it was the 18-month-old Rafa Jr who grabbed the attention in the stands as he attended the match with his mother Maria Francisca Perello and aunt Maria Isabel Nadal.

The toddler was often seen playing with a miniature tennis racket similar to the one his father uses and played courtside with anyone keen to give him attention.

Back on the court, tennis great Nadal was too good for 16-year-old Blanch as he brushed the American aside 6-1, 6-0 in 64 minutes and naturally his son enjoyed the celebrations, although he no doubt didn’t really know what he was celebrating.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tennis365 (@tennis365official)

After the match the 22-time Grand Slam winner was asked about playing in front of his son more often and replied: “Well, I would love to play a little bit longer and give him a memory of myself playing tennis.

“That’s what will be the ideal thing for me and for my wife and family.”

But he acknowledges time is running out.

The Spaniard added: “Probably I will not be able to make that happen. But at least I’m happy to have a great team and family and friends around me during all my life that helped me in every single way of being happy.

“Today is not an exception. I still have a great family, great team, and friends from ever since I was a child, a small kid.

“That makes me happy, and that, in some way, makes me feel great that they are here, but hopefully they’re gonna keep being next to me in the future after my tennis career, and that makes me feel great and super happy.”

Nadal Jr and the rest of the family will get another chance to catch the great man in action at the Madrid Open on Saturday when he takes on 10th seed Alex de Minaur in the second round. De Minaur defeated Nadal 7-5, 6-1 in the Barcelona Open last week.

“I didn’t test my body much today. I think I played a decent match doing the things that I had to do to be through, but at the same time, I played against a player that today — I don’t know in a few weeks — he’s not solid enough yet, because he’s making more mistakes,” he said.

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal makes emotional confession after convincing Madrid Open victory