Chris Evert feels Rafael Nadal’s career is drawing to a close after the Spaniard raised the prospect of retirement in his press conference following his win over Felix Auger-Aliassime.
It was a performance that once again showed the fire still burns within, but came on the back of an interrupted preparation for Roland-Garros on account of a chronic foot problem.
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The win set up another blockbuster clash with Novak Djokovic, but Nadal talked about retirement in his press conference on Sunday.
“I am in the quarter finals of Roland-Garros,” Nadal said. “I am just enjoying the fact I am here for one more year.
“Being honest, every match that I play here I do not know if it will be the last match here in Roland-Garros in my tennis career. That is my situation now.
“I went through a tough process again with my foot. I do not know what will happen in the near future with my career, so I am just trying to enjoy and fight as much as I can to keep living the dream.
“I hope to give myself a chance to play at the highest level possible and then let’s see.”
Nadal’s comments raised eyebrows in the Eurosport studio, and Evert felt it sounded like he was preparing for the end of his career.
“He is sounding weary,” Evert said. “There is so much more that comes with being a professional tennis player than playing a match, but he sounded tired.
“The respect I have for him because he is 35 years old and he can keep getting psyched up every single day for these matches.”
Evert, an 18-time major winner, added: “I started burning out in my early 30s. When I woke up in the morning I didn’t have anything in me, so I don’t know where he gets this passion and fire in his belly from.
“I am sure with the injury, I don’t want to say he is falling apart, but you get a little more affected by the playing and training.
“It is going to happen, whether it is next year, two years, three years. I would not give him more than two or three years to play tennis.”
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