Rafael Nadal's uncle and former coach gave the gloomy outlook as his nephew continues to battle injury woes. Toni says the setbacks are not surprising as the 22-time Slam winner "has a very punished body" after 16 years on the professional tour.
Rafael Nadal's uncle has said he "doesn't look beyond the next tournament” as his nephew has a "punished body" following 16 years on the professional tennis circuit.
Toni Nadal made the comments in Vanity Fair following Rafa's latest injury setback at last month's Australian Open where a grade two lesion in the Iliacus Psoas of his left leg contributed to a straight sets defeat at the hands of Mackenzie McDonald.
Uncle Toni did offer fans of the 22-time Grand Slam winner some hope ahead of this year's French Open, saying he was "confident" Rafael could win it for a 15th time, while hinting it may be his last.
Rafael Nadal is currently recovering from the leg injury incurred in that second round defeat to McDonald and is expected to be out of action until mid-March.
Meanwhile, Toni Nadal has heaped praise on arch-rival Novak Djokovic, who has now drawn level with Rafa in the Slam race after his success at the Australian Open.
Djokovic is "a marvel in constant evolution" Toni wrote on Instagram.
"His game is undoubtedly the most complete on the circuit and he responds with astonishing serenity to maximum stress; he also has the ambition to keep improving."
Last year was another beset by physical problems for the 36-year-old from Mallorca, with a recurring foot problem hindering him in Rome, while rib and abdominal injuries interrupted his 2022 season while still winning the first two majors of the year.
Last week Rafael Nadal gave an update on his latest injury, saying that further "tests" carried out in Barcelona confirmed the initial prognosis in Melbourne, which suggested a "normal recovery time of 6 to 8 weeks," he posted on social media.