All players eventually walk into the sunset after putting in years of hardwork, dedication and commitment to their game. Now, it seems that the great Rafael Nadal era is almost on the verge of becoming a matter of the past.
Of course, until any official announcement is made, nothing can be said with precision. But the Spaniard’s shocking defeat at the hands of his junior opponent Lucas Pouille at the 2016 US Open a couple of days back is hinting towards the end of Nadal era – we hope it shouldn’t arrive too early.
What’s Going Wrong With Rafael Nadal?
It’s not as if Nadal hasn’t faced defeats earlier, every sportsperson goes through ups and downs in their career. But the way he defended himself carelessly at his match against Pouille was not what we expected from a champion athlete like him. His reflexes and arm movements are not that much speedier anymore. Plagued with complicated injuries in the last few months, Nadal’s scintillating strokes and shots have lost much of their sheen.
As long as Lawn Tennis will be played Rafael Nadal’s mention will always be there. He is the world record holder of so many illustrious Tennis records including 9 men’s singles titles at one major (Grand Slam) alongside winning 9 Men’s singles titles at the French Open and many more. But the Spaniard’s so-so performance (barring Men’s doubles matches at Rio Olympics) at singles matches in the recent past has ignited a fresh debate on whether Nadal will be able to repeat his golden performance or not.
In his last match against Pouille, it was Nadal’s over cautious approach and inhibited fear that saw him losing the match 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. Following the match, journos wanted to know from Nadal about his defeat, he looked quite irritated.
“When the opponent beat(s) you, is not the time to find excuses, (whether it) is mental or physical. Doesn’t matter. The opponent was a little better than you. That’s it. You have to congratulate the opponent, go to the next tournament, the next practice, and try to be ready,”
said Rafael Nadal after the match.
Certainly, all is not well with the Tennis legend. Injuries and growing age are now certainly affecting the performance of this 30-year-old star tennis player. He is frantically trying to accomplish 15th major career title which continues to elude him since 2014. It’s more than 2 years since Nadal has won any major title. Last time, he won French Open 2014 beating Novak Djokovik in the final.
Will Rafael Nadal Announce His Retirement Soon?
The former World number one has maintained a decent record of more than 82% wins in his career. But with injuries affecting his performance – it’s apt time for Nadal to either reinvent himself adding some more powerful strokes in his armoury or say it quits. His first serve should be sharper and quicker enough to bog down the opponent from the very start. Hence, they won’t come back hard. Once Nadal gets the rhythm he should carry it on. He has to give more attention towards his fitness and footwork to get swift movement on the court.
Brushing aside his retirement rumours, Nadal recently said,
“I am close to being 100% again and I believe I can have a couple of more good years.”
From now onwards, Nadal will have to avoid further injuries at all cost – or else fans’ biggest nightmare of his retirement will become true. At 30-year with history of past injuries and continued declining performance – making a comeback in Tennis arena is indeed an herculean task. Until then, enjoy the Rafael Era whichever way you are witnessing it.