Rafael Nadal has tempered expectations ahead of a potential return to the tennis tour at the beginning of 2024. He also said that he hopes to know what this tennis future will be "within two months."
Rafael Nadal reiterated Monday that finishing his career in 2024 remains a distinct possibility, without specifying whether that would be one tournament or the entire year.
He also said he hopes to have "clarity" on his future in the next two months. In "November I will ask myself 'Where am I?'" in the process of potentially returning.
Nadal admitted he has had two operations on the hip he injured in January at this year's Australian Open.
"I said that possibly 2024 was my last year, I maintain that, but I cannot confirm it 100% because I do not know," Nadal told Spanish broadcaster Movistar.
The 37-year-old called a press conference in May, just before the French Open, to announce his withdrawal from the tournament he has won 14 times, as well as suggest he would be out of action for several months with an injury that had an initial prognosis of 6-8 weeks.
Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam winner, reiterated on Monday that he "would like to play again and be competitive again."
But he was keen to temper expectations as he admitted: "My hope is not to return to win Roland Garros or win Australia, so that people are not confused, all that is a long way off."
"I am well aware of the difficulties that I face. One is insurmountable, that is age, and the other are physical problems. What makes me hopeful is to play again, to be competitive again."
Nadal had two surgeries on his hip injury, one of which he announced publicly in June.
It is not known whether the second was planned, or whether the were complications prompting the additional surgery.
Nadal has not played since his second round loss Mackenzie McDonald at the beginning of the year, even though at the time it was not thought that the hip injury he incurred was serious.
Novak Djokovic sealed his 24th Grand Slam title earlier this month, extending his advantage of Rafael Nadal, but the Spaniard said he didn't have feelings over it, and
“I don't feel anything when I see Djokovic win. I would have liked to have been the one with most Grand Slams in tennis history, this is what sport is about, but it is not an obsession, it does not frustrate me that someone is better than me."
"I believe that," he continued, "within my possibilities, I have done everything possible to make things go as well as possible for me. I do think that it would have been frustrating for Djokovic not to achieve it and perhaps that is why he has achieved it. He has had the capacity to love, he has taken his ambition to the maximum. I have been ambitious, but with a healthy ambition that has allowed me to see things in perspective, not to get too angry when things did not go well for me on court."
One the possibility of one day becoming a coach like Juan Carlos Ferrero or Carlos Moya, Nadal said the academy remains his priority, though he didn't entirely rule out the possibility of taking a professional under his wing.
“The academy is an important project for me. I don't think I'll be a full-time coach but maybe someday I will. At the end of the day, I come from tennis and it is very important in my life."