Nick Kyrgios thinks Rafael Nadal’s career will “definitely” be coming to an end this year but hopes the 22-time Grand Slam can return to being fully healthy and have a proper farewell.
Last May, 37-year-old Nadal announced his plans to retire from pro tennis in 2024. In his first post-surgery tournament at the Brisbane International, Nadal didn’t close the doors on potentially playing beyond 2024 but highlighted that this will “probably” be his last season.
After clinching two straight-set wins in his opening two Brisbane matches, Nadal sustained a left leg injury in a surprise quarterfinal defeat to Jordan Thompson. Later, the scans revealed “a micro tear” in Nadal’s leg muscle, which forced the Spaniard to miss the Australian Open.
Kyrgios, who is also not competing at Melbourne Park this year due to injury but works as an analyst for Eurosport, believes Nadal’s big goal for this year is to be at his best for the French Open and then peacefully walk away from pro tennis.
“Honestly, I hope he stays and plays because we all know how much he means to the sport and how entertaining he is to watch, but realistically I would say this is definitely his last year on tour and I think his eyes will be set on the French [Open], but I think that’s about it,” Kyrgios told Eurosport.
Kyrgios thinks this is ‘definitely’ Nadal’s last season in pro tennis
In Brisbane, Nadal left a small chance to return for the 2025 season. But for that to happen, Nadal underlined that he would need to stay healthy, play well, and enjoy his time on the court.
Unfortunately, Nadal sustaining an injury in his first tournament back and then being forced to skip the Australian Open won’t help in convincing the former world No. 1 to continue playing beyond 2024. However, when announcing his Australian Open withdrawal, Nadal insisted he was remaining positive and that his Brisbane comeback definitely had bright spots.
Before leaving Australia and returning to Spain, Nadal met with Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley. At the start of the Australian Open, Tiley claimed Nadal didn’t rule out playing in Melbourne next year but, as already mentioned, some things would need to fall into place for that to happen.
Also, Tiley revealed that Nadal told him that he should be ready to play again in February.