Rafael Nadal, who returned to the world number one spot earlier this year, says he cannot play like Roger Federer at the age of 36. In an exclusive interview with the AS website, the Spaniard spoke about the video that has gone viral in recent times. The video shows a younger version of Rafael Nadal talking to a reporter in an interview. Nadal had then stated that he would love to play on grass and win a major on that surface. However, today Nadal is known for his dominance on the dirt, often referred to as the “king of clay”.
Nadal said, ‘I didn’t see the video, but despite the little exaggerated success I had on clay, I wasn’t prepared for this surface. When I was young, my uncle Toni didn’t train me to be a specialist on clay, either mentally or tennis-wise. And I didn’t practice a lot on clay. It’s true that my game and successes that I achieved at the beginning of my career made me being very confident on this surface. Also, I was excited to play on grass as at the time it had been many years that no Spaniard had played there.’
He was also asked about whether or not he will be playing up until the age of 36, much like his rival Roger Federer. Nadal said he is not planning to go that far. “Everyone has his own journey. When I was 26, I didn’t think about playing at 31. And now I don’t imagine myself playing tennis at Federer’s age. You never know, as it is about physical (condition), excitement and being prepared,” said Nadal.
Nadal also mentioned how important being at the top of the ATP rankings was to him.
Reporter: “How important is it to retain the world number one spot?”
Nadal: 1 ranking? ‘At this stage of my career, it was good that I had the chance to achieve the no. 1 ranking. I took it and it made me very happy. But I didn’t, and I won’t seek this goal. My goal is to be healthy and competitive.’
Rafa was scheduled to play at the Brisbane open, but announced his withdrawal earlier this week. It remains to be seen if he can make it to the Australian open.