‘You have to worry about Rafael Nadal’s health,’ says Boris Becker and feels break ‘will do him good’

Rafael Nadal in action on the ATP Tour

Boris Becker has urged the Rafael Nadal fans “to slowly get used to the idea that he won’t play forever” following the 20-time Grand Slam winner’s latest injury setback.

Nadal skipped Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics after sustaining a foot injury at Roland Garros, but then made his return to competitive action at the Washington Open with the aim of competing at the US Open.

However, he aggravated his injury in Washington and withdrew from the season-ending Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows as he ended his 2021 campaign early.

‘I am confident that I will recover again,’ says Rafael Nadal as injury forces him out of US Open

It is no secret that Nadal’s all-action game takes a heavy toll on his body and former world No 1 Becker feels the Spaniard “needs the break”.

“You have to worry about Rafael Nadal’s health,” Becker told Eurosport. “He is a very physical player and has to train a lot. The matches, even if they are often won in two sets, always take one and a half or two hours because the rallies are so long.

“That’s why he always reaches his physical limits. And if he is just one step slower or can’t run left-right twenty times, then he doesn’t feel strong enough.

“Time does not stand still for him. He needs the break – it will do him good.”

Nadal turned 35 this year and, although he is determined to prolong his playing career, Becker reminded the tennis icon’s fans that “he won’t play forever”.

The German added: “Nadal fans have to slowly get used to the idea that he won’t play forever.

“You don’t get match-fit in practice, unfortunately, you have to get back into the game – that carries the risk of getting injured again.

“It’s always a tightrope between match practice before my most important tournament and the number of practice sessions I need.

“You’ve been doing it for ten or 15 years and you know what to do, but it’s all much more difficult beyond 30, beyond 35. Nadal and [Roger] Federer have the same problem now.”