Rafael Nadal recently joined the growing list of personalities from the tennis fraternity to come forward with their views on 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams' impending retirement after the 2022 US Open.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the Western & Southern Open, Nadal said he had "plenty" of memories of having shared the tennis court with Williams. He went on to describe the American as "one of the greatest sports [people] of all time," adding that the tennis fraternity could not thank her enough for what she has done for the sport.
“Plenty of memories,” Nadal said. “She is one of the greatest sports [people] of all time. I feel lucky to share a tour for a long period of time with her. Of course, from a selfish point of view it’s sad that she’s leaving the tour but, on the other hand, we can’t thank her enough for all the things that she did for our sport.”
“I think she’s an amazing inspiration for a lot of people around the world and I think she deserves to choose whatever works for her better at this stage of her life," he added. "So I wish her all the best.”
"I need to take things a little bit easier" - Rafael Nadal on returning from an injury break
Returning to action for the first time since pulling out of his semifinal match at the Wimbledon Championships, Rafael Nadal said he had a small tear in the abdomen and needed to take things "a little bit easier."
The Spaniard was quick to add that he was making a conscious effort to be slightly more "conservative" with his approach towards tennis and needed a few days to analyze his injury.
“Of course, I had a small tear in the abdominal so it’s dangerous," Rafael Nadal said. "The abdominal is the place that is dangerous because in every serve you put a lot of effort there, so I need to take things a little bit easier and do the highs the proper way."
“That’s what I’m trying to do. Try to be a little more conservative but I hope I can be ready to play," he continued. "I need some more days to analyse how things are going in terms of abdominal feeling.”
Nadal said that while things were going well for him at the moment, the injury was still a "dangerous" one, adding that he was excited to continue his good season in Cincinnati.
“Because at the end of the day it’s more than one month without serving and without playing any set," Nadal said. "So I need to analyze after every day that the abdominal is still OK with no feeling because, as I said, it’s a dangerous thing."
“But things are going well for the moment, so hopefully I can manage to be ready," he continued. "I’m excited. I want to play tennis again on the tour. I’m having a good season, I’m enjoying it, so I want to enjoy this week in Cincinnati.”