Nadal wishes he could play longer and create a lasting memory for his son Rafa Junior

The 22-time Grand Slam champion and his wife Maria Francisca Perello welcomed their first child together in October 2022

By Reuters

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Nadal accepted the Laureus Sport for Good Award for 2024 alongside his wife, Maria Francisca Perello at a star-studded ceremony in Madrid. - Instagram
Nadal accepted the Laureus Sport for Good Award for 2024 alongside his wife, Maria Francisca Perello at a star-studded ceremony in Madrid. - Instagram

Published: Fri 26 Apr 2024, 1:13 PM

Rafa Nadal said he would love to keep playing long enough for his son to remember him on court, though the 22-time Grand Slam champion concedes time is not on his side.

The 37-year-old Spaniard, who has said he expects to retire after the 2024 season, returned to competition in Brisbane in January after almost a year sidelined with a hip flexor injury.


He was then out for another stretch due to a thigh issue and while he returned in Barcelona last week he says he is far from being in top form and does not know if he will play in next month's French Open.

Nadal beat wild card Darwin Blanch 6-1 6-0 in the first round of the Madrid Open on Thursday, with his wife and one-year-old son Rafael Jr watching on.


"Well, I would love to play a little bit longer and give him a memory of myself playing tennis," Nadal said of playing in front of his son.

"That's what will be the ideal thing for me and for my wife and family.

"Probably I will not be able to make that happen. But at least I’m happy to have a great team and family and friends around me during all my life that helped me in every single way of being happy."

Rafael Nadal and his wife, Mery "Xisxa" Perelló, welcomed their first child together in October 2022

The boy was born two weeks after Nadal's emotional final match with frien and rival Roger Federer for Team Europe in the Laver Cup in London in September 2022.

Nadal, a five-time champion in Madrid, next faces Australian 10th seed Alex de Minaur on Saturday.

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