The Spanish champion was eliminated at the US Open in the hands of Frances Tiafoe on Monday, ending his 22-game undefeated streak in Grand Slams this year.
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A four-time New York champion and bid for a 23rd Grand Slam title, Nadal lost to Tiafoe 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
In his post-match press conference with reporters, Nadal sadly admitted that he doesn’t know when he will be back on the pitch.
The 36-year-old said he needed to return to Spain to be with his pregnant wife Xisca who was recently hospitalized in Mallorca.
“I have to go back. I have to fix things. I don’t know when I’ll be back,” he said.
“I’ll try to be mentally ready. If I feel like I’m ready to compete again, I’ll be there.”
Nadal is to become a father for the first time in the coming weeks, a factor that will heavily influence his future plans on the pitch.
The 36-year-old was reportedly furious last week after footage of Xisca being taken to hospital was leaked on social media.
“Now I have to go home, I have more important things to do than tennis,” he said.
“Decisions are made based on my personal life, which comes before my professional life.
“It’s been a bit difficult for a few months, but I want to end the year with something very important, which is my first child.”
The 22-time Grand Slam champion has previously stated that he only wants to start a family after his career is over.
Rafa Nadal doesn’t rule out playing again in 2022
Australian greats Jelena Dokic and Todd Woodbridge discussed his comments on Channel 9 and said they didn’t think Nadal would play again ahead of the Australian Open in January.
Despite doubts about his future plans, Nadal told Spanish media that he won’t rule out playing again this year.
“I’m going to do a mini pre-season to end the year in Europe on a good note and we’ll try to do that,” he said.
“If all else goes well, there’s a tournament ahead.”
The Spaniard is because of the game in the Laver Cup alongside Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray from September 23-26.
If Nadal is available, it would be the first time all four members of the ‘Big 4’ play together on the same team.
Discussing his loss to Tiafoe, Nadal admitted that age had caught up with his 26-year-old opponent.
“I couldn’t push him back. Tennis is often a positional sport,” he said.
“If not, you must be very, very fast and very young. I’m not in this moment anymore.”
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