Connect with us


Nadal 2024: What Do We Expect Moving Forward

2024 could be the end of one of the most illustrious careers in sports history. Rafael Nadal unfortunately will not be able to defend his 14th French Open title in 2023, and sadly there is no certainty that he will ever return to championship form. He’s indicated the plan from here is to recover and for 2024 to be his final season on tour.

This hip injury was supposed to be a 6 to 8-week recovery, and he is now on week 15. Obviously for a player who has played through painful injuries before this seems to be a very serious one. You know if there was any chance he could credibly play the French Open he would be there. If he were able to play, with a 112-3 record he certainly would be a threat.

Sadly this has the feel of the knee injury that eventually ended Roger Federer’s career. He kept getting surgeries and I remember distinctly after reading this knee kept swelling up on him that his days were numbered. He retired about a month later. If this hip injury continues to trouble him I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar fate for Rafael Nadal. It’s very unfortunate their bodies have let them down when they still have the ability otherwise to play at a high level.

Recovery and being able to play on 2 days rest for 2 weeks is certainly part of tennis though. For players of this age it’s not a shock physically for the bodies to break down. We’ve often talked about how Nadal’s days seemed numbered just by the number of injuries and his physical style of grinding play. Federer was somewhat more of a surprise because of the way he served and could end points relatively quicker. We thought they would give him greater longevity and I guess it did ultimately being able to play at a really high level until 39. Of the big three Novak Djokovic seems to have the greatest fitness and health. His skinny frame I believe has helped him not carry the weight Rafael Nadal does.

Novak Djokovic

As a tennis fan when Rafael Nadal retires I’m afraid it opens the door sooner for Novak Djokovic to also call it quits. For the alst decade, all of the big 3 were in a pretty obvious arms race and trying to stack Grand Slams. Being close in the number of majors I believe has been the biggest motivation in the big 3’s longevity and playing well into their mid 30’s or beyond. That’s an age many of the other all-time greats couldn’t play to or either didn’t have the motivation. They have given motivation to each other until now. If Djokovic is able to open up a lead and break the current tie of 22 with Nadal on his last legs, he may very well also call it quits after 2024 or soon after. As tennis fans if we want Djokovic to remain motivated I believe we either need Nadal to get healthy and start winning again to extend his career beyond 2024. That or a new dominant rival like Carlos Alcaraz to emerge over these next two years who appear to be a long-term threat to Djokovic records. That could motivate Djokovic to stat pad a little longer I believe if it becomes more obvious he is the future and Djokovic can be competitive with him.

Enjoy these years regardless and what time we have remaining with Nadal and Djokovic because the clock is certainly ticking, and their tennis mortality is getting more real each day. If Nadal’s body will not allow him to play an entire season anymore, he is the player with the biggest case for only focusing on the clay court season and the French Open. That could extend his career a few more years and possibly would be a way to win a couple more Grand Slams if he wanted to focus on those couple of months. I don’t think he would though as it would feel like it was cheating the game in some way.

More in Tennis

%d bloggers like this: