"Been able to enjoy the growth of my son, spend time with family" - Rafael Nadal on 'happy' life outside tennis, how he spent 12-month hiatus

Rafael Nadal sheds light on
Rafael Nadal sheds light on 'happy' life outside tennis, reveals how he spent 12-month hiatus

Rafael Nadal recently opened up about his life beyond the tennis court, shedding light on how he made use of the 12-month hiatus he was on due to injuries. He revealed that during this period, he witnessed the growth of his son and cherished spending quality time with his family.

Nadal staged an emphatic return to the court at the 2024 Brisbane International. He kicked off his campaign with a victory over Dominic Thiem, defeating him 7-5, 6-1 in the first round.

During an interview with ATP Tour, the Spaniard shared the challenges he faced during the months of recovery following his hip surgery. He admitted that the period during which he went without picking up a racquet was undeniably difficult for him.

"It's been tough, of course. I was not able to do the things that I wanted to do. After all the surgery, it probably had been four months without touching a racquet. I was not able to play tennis. I was not able to enjoy a lot because I went through a lot of pain for a long time," he said (at 00:30).

However, Nadal also acknowledged the silver lining that came from this forced break - the opportunity to spend time with his family, witness his son's growth, and go on longer vacations together.

"But at the same time, I have been able to be at home and enjoy the growth of my son. During the whole year, spend time with the family. To go on vacation for longer periods of time. To know places that I wanted to know, and I was not previously able to do it," he added (at 01:04).

Rafael Nadal further revealed that he had been happy while not playing tennis and admitted that he would continue to find happiness even after retiring from the sport. However, he added that he would not be able to replicate the adrenaline rush he experiences while playing once he bids farewell to the sport.

"I have been very happy outside of tennis, and I think I can be very happy outside of tennis. But this adrenaline, these feelings that you have in any sport, are difficult to find on a daily basis. For me, it's about accepting the unpredictable. That’s the thing today. All the doubts that are normal after one year without playing a professional match," Nadal said.
"But I still have this fire inside to be competitive. Let’s see... I mean, I’m trying my best every day to put myself in a competitive position," he added.

Rafael Nadal: "Personal satisfaction is quite high"

Rafael Nadal at Brisbane International 2024
Rafael Nadal at Brisbane International 2024

Rafael Nadal expressed his contentment and satisfaction with the progress he has made since his surgery. He also said that he currently feels significantly better than he did a month ago.

"I have been working a lot to be where I am today. So personal satisfaction is quite high. After all the surgery processes that I had, I doubted if I would be able to start this January. But I feel much better today than what I expected one month ago, and for me, already, that's super positive," he said.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion added that the support he received during his hiatus served as a great motivator during his lowest moments. He stated that he "missed being healthy", "missed feeling competitive" and "playing in front of full crowds."

“The support is super important, especially in the low moments. I had the chance to receive thousands of messages during this year and having great people next to me every single day makes the difference, without a doubt. I missed being healthy, I missed feeling competitive and playing in front of full crowds like this,” he added.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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