Rafael Nadal is through to the third round of Wimbledon for the 11th time – but it was his post-match comments that got the most attention.
After getting past Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on Center Court, Nadal revealed that he was considering retiring from the sport just a couple of weeks ago.
“A couple of weeks ago I was close to it,” he told reporters.
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“Now I do not feel that way. That’s my philosophy, no?”
The 36-year-old has nothing left to prove in a sport where he achieved everything, but when he’s still capable of winning grand slams, why walk away?
“I never had fear about that day,” he said, referring to his eventual retirement.
“I think I am happy that I had a very happy life outside of tennis, even if tennis is a very important part of my life for the last 30 years.
“I have been happy outside of tennis, without a doubt. I have a lot of things that I like to do away from tennis, so I am not worried about that.”
He acknowledged that his post-tennis life would take some acclimatization, not just for him, but for fans of the sport as well.
“It’s normal that the people talk about retirement of the great athletes because in some way the athletes that have been for such a long time in the top of the game, even more in more popular sports, become part of the life of so many people , “he said.
“I mean, for example, person that I love to see, Tiger Woods playing. Now I’m not able to see Tiger Woods playing that often. In some way, that’s a change in my life, too.”
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It was Nadal’s 307th Grand Slam match win, taking him past Martina Navratilova in fourth place on the all-time list, behind Roger Federer (369), Serena Williams (365) and Novak Djokovic (330).
“I need to improve but the fourth set was much better,” Nadal said.
“The serve worked much better at the end of the match and then I was able to play a little bit more aggressively. At the beginning, there were too many mistakes.”
Nadal is looking for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title, and third Wimbledon trophy.
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