Tennis Prose



How Should Rafael Nadal Retire?

By Scoop Malinowski

The former king of tennis who won an astonishing 22 Grand Slam titles, Olympic gold medals, Davis Cups and countless other unforgettable, inspiring triumphs over the last two decades is nearing the end of his illustrious career at age 37 (he will turn 38 on June 6, 2024). So what would be the most poetic, ideal way for this adored emperor of the court decide to punctuate his career and depart the ATP World Tour?

Several former pro players and tennis insiders shared their thoughts on this profound question that the former world no. 1 and current 663 will have to decide on at some point…

Sander Groen (Former ATP player and champion): Too late to have a nice goodbye I think. Laver Cup maybe? I cannot imagine… Too late to do it in a perfect way like Pete Sampras. Rafa should say goodbye on center court Roland Garros after losing fourth round or quarterfinals max.

Jeff Salzenstein (Former Stanford All American and ATP top 100): French Open. Announce before that it will be his last tournament.

Francisco Rocha (ATP 717): Win singles gold medal in Olympics.

Brian Gottfried (Former ATP no. 3 and Roland Garros finalist): I don’t know if Rafa ballboyed in Barcelona like Roger did in Basel, but if not, I could see him winning Roland Garros one more time for no. 23 and then after the finals, rolling around on the court, so he’s fully covered with the clay, and that’s the image of him leaving Stade Philippe Chatrier for the last time.  Of course the finals will be a long five set battle where he’s down two sets to love and way down in the fifth set to win.  It might even last as long as the Isner-Mahut Wimby match, not in games played but in time. OK, enough fiction for one day.

Gene Mayer (Former ATP world no. 4): My thought is that the greatest competitor in our sport, or possibly in any sport, should be given the latitude to go out on his own terms.  Rafa has earned that.

Felipe Alarcon (Tennis coach): He wants to prove to himself that he can win more majors. If he gets injured one more time then he will retire for sure.

Michael Ray Pallares (Former ATP world ranked player): I am not sure to be honest. I don’t think he’ll do that well next year.

Franklin Biboussi (Republic of Congo Davis Cup Player): He can follow Federer’s example.

Harry Cicma (Former ATP ranked player): It depends on how he does this year. I think he should play as long as possible and as long as he is top 20 level. If not, then retire at Roland Garros or in Spain.

Andres Gomez (1990 Roland Garros Champion): On his own terms! Enjoying what he is doing! And looking for 23!

Anna Hakobyan (Tennis player and Rafael Nadal fan): I think the best for Rafa is pass his drive, determination and resilience to the new generations. He already has the academy and he does it with kids. He has a non profit. So that would be best way for him to make the Rafa legacy live forever.

Here is the similar feature I did about how should Roger Federer retire?

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  • Sam · December 9, 2023 at 3:32 pm

    How should Nadal retire? On social media, of course:

    Hey folks, I’m DONE! ¡Hasta la vista, babies!. 👋🏻

  • Sam · December 29, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    Scoop, do you think there’s any chance Nadal goes deep in Australia (assuming he doesn’t withdraw)?

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 30, 2023 at 7:48 am

    Sam, I’m just gonna grab the popcorn and watch how the Rafa show (or script) plays out…



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