MONTREAL (AFP) – Rafael Nadal insisted Sunday that retirement is not on his mind despite a year in which he was dethroned as French Open champion and saw his ranking slip to its lowest in a decade.
The 29-year-old former world number one and 14-time major winner said that he will hang up his racquet only when he has lost the thrill of playing the sport. “For sure, there is more behind than in front in my career. I’m sure of that,” Nadal said on the eve of the Montreal Masters — a major tune-up for the US Open, which starts in three weeks.
“But I don’t think about retirement. Day by day is my way to work. In 2005, I was aged 19 and I’m sure that I won’t be playing tennis until 39.
“I have motivation to keep going so it’s difficult to think about not playing. But when it comes, I will know.
“When I wake up without motivation to improve, that will be the end. But until that day arrives, I’m here and enjoying it.”
Nadal slumped to number 10 in the world in June after he lost his French Open title and then went on to suffer a second round exit at Wimbledon.
But he won on clay in Hamburg recently and hopes to use that to his advantage in his summer hardcourt opener.
It was in Montreal a decade ago that Nadal claimed the first hardcourt title of his career when he beat Andre Agassi in the final.
This week, he is chasing a fourth Canadian honour.
He is the seventh seed in Montreal and will play either Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky or Canada’s Filip Peliwo in his first match.