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I’ve got to make a confession here – I’ve always been a Roger Federer man. It pained me to see him lose many important matches to Rafael Nadal over the years. Yet the rivalry between these two guys was truly special, regardless of who won or lost the matches. However, despite my love for Federer, I always had tremendous respect for the way that Rafael Nadal battled on the court. And over the years, I’ve come to admire his talents, mental strength, and overall ability to pull through matches, no matter how bleak things have looked.
In fact, there are many arguments to suggest that Rafael Nadal is the true GOAT of the tennis world. I won’t share my thoughts on that here, as I don’t want to get too far off track. So coming back to the discussion, as detailed in the title, could 2023 really be the last time we see Nadal compete in the biggest tournaments in tennis? Personally, I would love the answer to be no.
But while my heart wants to say no, my head is telling me that yes, realistically, it could be the final year that we get to watch Nadal. I believe that many signals point to this conclusion too, as I’ve detailed in the next section.
2023 Nadal Retirement – The Writing Is on the Wall
I can already hear people screaming – no way is Nadal retiring soon, are you kidding me? After all, he did win two Grand Slam titles in 2022 alone. And yes, I am in no way denying that the start of 2022 was sensational for Nadal. But in recent months, I just feel that there are signs that the great Spaniard is losing a bit of his fire. So without further ado, let me share the reasons why I think that Rafael Nadal will retire at the end of 2023:
The Retirement of Roger Federer
You may think I’m crazy for connecting the two, but hear me out. When Federer retired at the Laver Cup earlier this year, it seemed like Nadal was losing a close relative rather than a colleague. He stated how Federer had always been an inspiration and how the rivalry between them kept him going all those years. But now that Federer has called it a day, I question the motivation for Nadal to keep battling.
The Recent Venture Into Fatherhood
I think of the three reasons I have listed here, this is probably the most influential of them all. As you may be aware, Nadal and his wife recently welcomed the birth of their first child. Nadal was a bit of a late bloomer here compared to some of the others such as Djokovic, Murray, and Federer. And personally, I believe that he left it so long as he didn’t want to be away on tour for so long once he started a family.
How He Looks on the Court
I debated this last reason for quite some time. But ultimately, I’ve got to go with my gut and state that he hasn’t looked the same in recent tournaments. He hasn’t looked quite as competitive, quite as nimble, and the fire that we’ve all grown to love with Nadal just didn’t seem to be there. Because of that, I truly do think that 2023 will be his last, even if I’d love him to keep going.