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Rafael Nadal says he was 'close to retirement' just days before Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal says he was close to retiring from tennis just two weeks ago but he 'no longer feels that way.'
Rafael Nadal serving at Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal said he was 'close to retiring' just two weeks ago due to his persistent foot injury.

Nadal's 14th Roland Garros title was won against a backdrop of him telling the press that he feared it would be his last ever French Open.

It was only a series of painkilling injections throughout the two weeks that got him through it, although subsequent radiotherapy treatment appears to have brought the injury back under control for now.

Asked about whether he still fears any tournament could be has last, Nadal said: "My philosophy is couple of weeks ago I was close to it (retirement).

"Now I don’t feel that way. That’s my philosophy. It’s something that I am not… I never had fear about that day.

"I think I am happy that I had a very happy life outside of tennis, even if tennis is a very important part of my life for the last 30 years.

"I have been happy outside of tennis, without a doubt. I have a lot of things that I like to do away from tennis, so I am not worried about that. But, of course, when that day arrives, going to be a change. All the changes in this life takes a while. You need to adapt to the changes."

Rafael Nadal has been a huge part of the greatest era of men's tennis that the sport has ever seen. Alongside Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, he has helped changed how we define tennis greatness.

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All three will be facing the prospect of retirement sooner rather than later, and he says he understands how uncomfortable the idea is for fans - because he is no different.

"It’s normal that the people talks about retirement of the great athletes because in some way the athletes that have been for such a long time in the top of the game," he said.

"Even more in more popular sports, become part of the life of so many people. Happens to me the same with some football players, with golf players.

"I mean, for example, a person that I love to see, Tiger Woods playing. Now I’m not able to see Tiger Woods playing that often. In some way, that’s a change in my life, too.

"Probably people will think the same like me, as a fan, when Roger [Federer] is not playing, when Novak [Djokovic] is not playing, when I am not playing, or when any football or basketball or any sport are not playing, because they become part of the daily life of the people because they are an inspiration."

Rafael Nadal is through to the third round of Wimbledon after beating Ricardas Berenkis 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. He will face Lorenzo Sonego for a place in the fourth round on Saturday.

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