Rafael Nadal has lifeline to extend tennis career as Uncle Toni suggests partner

Rafael Nadal set for 2024 farewell after pulling out of French Open

Rafael Nadal has been handed a lifeline to keep his tennis career going as his Uncle Toni has suggested he should team up with Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz in the doubles at next year’s Olympic Games. Nadal has been out of action since January’s Australian Open due to a hip injury but has been tipped to return to the court at the beginning of next year.

“If Rafael is in good condition, then I think they would be a very good pair,” explained Toni Nadal on Spanish radio station Onda Cero. “I assume that Carlos is in good condition, so we’ll see. Let’s see if there is a possibility of winning an Olympic gold in singles or doubles.”

Nadal is the second most successful men’s player in the history of tennis behind Novak Djokovic and has won a staggering 22 Grand Slam titles throughout his illustrious career. The 37-year-old also has two Olympic gold medals to his name.

At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Spaniard defeated Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez in the final. And at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Nadal and compatriot Marc Lopez overcame Romania’s Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau in the doubles final.

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A doubles team of Nadal and Alcaraz would certainly excite tennis fans across the world. And the world No 2 has already teased the idea. “Let’s see how he’s doing and how he’s going, you know, in this year,” Alcaraz said in May. “Hopefully he’s going great. But yeah, for me, it could be a dream to play doubles with him.”

Nadal was forced to miss this year’s French Open, Wimbledon and US Open due to his hip issue. But his Uncle Toni, who used to coach the player, has suggested the veteran will be fit to compete at the Australian Open in the New Year. “I believe that it will come at the Australian Open,” he continued.

“Obviously my nephew intends to be cautious, which is what he has to do. Every day he is getting a little better. It is true that it has been a very long injury – but hey, it is what it is. It is a high-level sport. In the end it is almost obligatory to play with pain, unfortunately, because you push your body to the limit. Pushing it to the limit is what makes you have all these problems.”

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However, Uncle Toni has played down his nephew’s chances of winning January’s Grand Slam. “He is aware that the situation is complicated,” Nadal added. “Let’s say he manages to get to Australia, it will not be easy to compete again with an added problem.

“He will not be seeded, so he could face a high-level player. When Rafa plays a Grand Slam, he is usually given an affordable opponent to give him momentum, allowing him to be a dangerous threat from the quarter-finals onwards.”

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