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Nadal wishes he could play long enough for his son to remember him on court

Rafael Nadal said he would love to keep playing long enough for his son to remember him on court, though the 22-time Grand Slam champion concedes time is not on his side.

The 37-year-old Spaniard, who has said he expects to retire after the 2024 season, returned to competition in Brisbane in January after almost a year sidelined with a hip flexor injury.

He was then out for another stretch due to a thigh issue and while he returned in Barcelona last week, he says he is far from being in top form and does not know if he will play in next month’s French Open.

Nadal beat wild card Darwin Blanch 6-1, 6-0 in the first round of the Madrid Open on Thursday, with his wife and one-year-old son Rafael Jr. watching on.

ALSO READ | Madrid Open 2024: Nadal beats teenager Blanch in straight sets, faces De Minaur in second round

“Well, I would love to play a little bit longer and give him a memory of myself playing tennis,” Nadal said of playing in front of his son.

“That’s what will be the ideal thing for me, and for my wife and family.

“Probably I will not be able to make that happen. But at least I’m happy to have a great team, family and friends around me all my life that helped me in every single way to be happy.”

Nadal, a five-time champion in Madrid, next faces Australian 10th seed Alex de Minaur on Saturday.

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