Rafael Nadal says he doesn’t need to keep on winning in order to keep his passion for tennis alive, just remaining competitive will do.
Since winning his record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros this month, Nadal has cut a reflective figure in press interviews as the scale of his achievement sinks in.
He has ruled out any imminent plans for retirement, but that hasn’t stopped him from considering what might ultimately convince him to hang up his racket.
“Winning is an important part of sport, it is part of its essence, but I would not talk so much about the need to win, which exists, of course,” Nadal told El Periodico.
“I would talk about being competitive. If you have the feeling that you can win and enjoy trying, winning, losing, it is part of the sport.
“Winning is a positive energy that helps you keep going, that’s for sure. There may be people who give up when they stop winning, yes.”
At the moment, Nadal looks as fit and strong as ever, and there is little sign of the injuries than plagued the earlier part of his career catching up with him.
If they do, though, that would give him a decision to make.
“Well, the physical part is very important when it comes to assessing whether or not you can continue to be competitive,” Nadal admitted.
“I think that, if the injuries respect me, I do not see, at the moment, a reason why not to continue competing.
“If one has pain every day and life, training and competition become a continuous suffering, it is evident that it will have to be considered.”
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