Nadal addresses Zverev’s retirement prediction before Australian Open

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Rafael Nadal has dismissed Alexander Zverev’s suggestion that this year will be the last of his incredible career. Zverev made the prediction as he looked ahead to the 2023 tennis calendar, suggesting Nadal would walk away after the French Open.

Nadal, 36, has won an incredible 14 titles at Roland Garros and overcame a number of injury problems to reach the final and defeat Casper Ruud in June. He has previously admitted that he is now in the twilight of his career leading to speculation over when he will actually call it a day.

Speaking to Eurosport for their 2023 predictions, world No.13 Zverev suggested Nadal would walk away following this year’s French Open. He said: “I don’t want it to happen, but I think he will have a great tournament, potentially win it and say goodbye.”

But Nadal, who will begin the defence of his Australian Open crown next week, insists he has no plans to retire any time soon – and even if he did, he would not be sharing it with a fellow player.

“I have a very good relationship with Zverev, but not enough to confess something like that to him,” he said at a press conference in Melbourne.

“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.”

Nadal gets his title defence underway against British No.3 Jack Draper on Monday and is eager to recapture some form after embarking on the worst streak of his career.

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The Spaniard has lost six of his last seven matches and conceded: “I need to build again all this momentum. I need to build again this confidence with victories. But it’s true that I have been losing more than usual.

“From my experience, I can go here on Monday and lose without a doubt and not going to be the end of the world. I am going to be a tough moment, of course, but I am going to accept it. It doesn’t matter the result.”

On the challenge of facing Draper, he added: “The first round is going to be an important one against a very tough opponent. I know he’s playing well. He has a lot of positive things, and probably a great career in front of him. I hope to be ready to fight for that first round and let’s see what can happen.”

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