Rafa Nadal snubs Australian Open rival's brutal retirement claim

The Spaniard shut down his rival's claim ahead of the Australian Open.

Rafa Nadal (pictured) speaks to the media during a press conference.
Rafa Nadal (pictured) has shut down Alexander Zverev's claim about his retirement during an Australian Open press conference. (Getty Images)

Rafa Nadal has shut down Alexander Zverev's claim that he will retire after Roland Garros this year after claiming the German wouldn't know his plans. Nadal's preparation before the Australian Open hasn't been ideal having gone 0-2 in Sydney after United Cup losses to Australia's Alex de Minaur and Brit Cameron Norrie earlier this month.

Since his US Open loss, the Spaniard has just one victory from his last six matches. Regardless, Nadal has admitted he is feeling good ahead of his Australian Open title defence. The 36-year-old has been hard at work at Melbourne Park ahead of his extremely tricky first round match against British emerging star Jack Draper.

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With Nadal fighting off a number of injuries in recent months, and his form dipping, it has prompted constant speculation over his impending retirement. The latest to comment was Zverev.

The German claimed he could see Nadal retiring this year after Roland Garros. "Unfortunately, I think Rafa will retire after Roland Garros," Zverev said.

"I don't want it to happen, but I think he will have a great tournament, potentially win it and say goodbye."

While Zverev gave his opinion, Nadal has been fending off constant speculation over his retirement. And he was quick to shut down the German's prediction in an Australian Open press conference.

"I don't know what's going to happen in six months. I have a very good relationship with Zverev, but not enough to confess something like that to him," Nadal said in a translated interview. "The reality is that I'm here to play tennis, try to have a great 2023, fight for everything that I have struggled throughout my career and I don't think about my retirement.

“You think about it week after week because that's how you show me at every press conference. But I will answer the same every time you ask me".

Despite Nadal shutting down Zverev's comments, the pair shared a hit on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday ahead of their Australian Open first round matches.

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Rafa Nadal addresses rivals ahead of Aus Open

On Saturday, Alex de Minaur commented on how some of the new generation of players have caught up to Novak Djokovic and Nadal in grand slam performances. This is despite Nadal winning Aus Open and the French Open and Djokovic winning Wimbledon last year.

Carlos Alzaraz won his maiden grand slam at the US Open. And when the question was put to Nadal, he was full of praise for the next generation. But he also put Roger Federer, Djokovic and his careers into perspective.

“I can’t predict the future,” Nadal said. “Some of the names that you named, they are super good. Carlos (Alcaraz) has one Grand Slam, the others have zero yet. If we start talking about achieving 22 Grand Slams, 21, 20, I mean, it’s a big deal.

Rafael Nadal (pictured) shares a laugh during practice.
Rafael Nadal (pictured) has been training hard ahead of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

“That can happen, yes. Why not? But at the same time never happened in the past. (It) will not be easy that happens two generations in a row.

“That’s just putting the logical perspective on the room, no? They are super good. They’re going to have amazing career. They’re going to win slams. They’re going to win a lot of tournaments, yes.

“Some of them, I can’t be sure, but I’m almost sure not two players of this generation (are) going to achieve 20, 21, and 22 Grand Slams.

“If someone can reach that number – maybe – it’s going to be difficult, they have a lot of things to do in front. But you never know what can happen.

“I mean, probably because (there) have been three players that achieved that much, we lose a little bit of perspective how difficult is all of this, no?"

Nadal copped a tough draw at the Australian Open with a difficult first round match-up with the in-form Draper.

with AAP

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