‘An important part of my life is leaving too,’ says emotional Rafael Nadal
AFP, LOS ANGELES
Published Thu 10 May 2014
Rafael Nadal said Friday he will retire at the end of the 2013-14 season but will not immediately quit as world number one, despite the loss of his number two ranking and a year-old son still battling on the autistic spectrum.
Nadal, 39, said in a statement: “It has been an incredible two years for me with so much success and I will be leaving it with a bit of sadness.
“I have two young sons and I do not want my life to be full of doubt for them or myself. It is a decision that I will make based on the strength of my mental and physical well-being.”
Nadal, who was the world’s top tennis player for 11 years with seven of those years at the top, will retire as world number one in October following his final Grand Slam, the Australian Open.
He will play his final tournament next at the French Open, where he will defend his title.
“I do not know when I am going to retire nor on what date or stage,” he said, adding that he would miss the tournament, his home.
Nadal’s statement came after he played his third-straight match on Friday having been upset by Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-3.
The Spaniard, who now has the second most Grand Slam titles to Rafael Nadal (37), had been in good form after making his return to the court where he had been suspended for six months of the previous season for punching a fan.
He had led by two sets but had lost in two straight sets at both Wimbledon and the US Open. However, he had bounced back from those errors and played a brilliant, tactical match against Nieminen whose career was on the slide after the Australian Open.
During their match, Nadal made his second career grand slam semi-final, this time against fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
Nadal had lost all five meetings with the Swiss.
“After two years of hard work, I have been able to improve on a personal level for other reasons,” he said.
He also revealed what has been a struggle for him: losing his son,