At only 26 years old, Nadal still has plenty of time to continue his ascension to the title of greatest men’s tennis player of all time.
While being eliminated early at Wimbledon before missing the Olympics and the U.S. Open to close 2012 is no way to spend a season, the injuries that Nadal had been suffering have now been given the proper time to heal.
The rest and rehab the tennis star has been concentrating on for the last few months has not only allowed him a chance to get back to where he was physically, but it has given Nadal a new outlook on the sport and his career as a whole.
Nadal looked his tennis mortality right in the face and now knows exactly what it will take to be the greatest of all time.
Fox News Latino is reporting about what Nadal said at a Vanity Fair event concerning how long he wanted his career to continue, and his new outlook on the sport and his career as a whole:
I don't know how long I will keep playing tennis. I'll be 31 in five years and taking into account the fact that I started at 16 ... Perhaps stopping now will help extend my career a little bit more. Until I had the problems with the knee again, the final at Roland Garros, had been one of the best seasons of my life. I felt able to win any competition. Complicated times came later.
Success is not the victory, it's what you've done to win. The knowledge that you've done everything in your power to achieve what you wanted. That feeling makes me very happy. This year I lost the final in Australia and I didn't like it, but I was happy in some ways. It was a success to have lost like that.
While there is no question that it will be difficult for Nadal to return to the courts and continue winning tournaments as he was before the injuries, the tennis veteran knows that he must win to cement his legacy.
There may not be many tournaments left in the legs of Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic has proven he can be beaten, so Nadal knows that he will have an easier time getting the Grand Slam wins now than at any other point in his career.
If Nadal returns to 100 percent and can stay healthy for the majority of his career, there is no doubt that the star could win six Grand Slams in five years and tie Federer’s mark. With Nadal owning the distinctive edge when the two battled, Nadal will be considered the better champion if they finish their careers with the same amount of Grand Slam wins.
Winning six Grand Slams—period—isn’t easy, but doing that over just five years makes this feat unbelievably tough.
Good news for Nadal is that he is arguably the most talented tennis player of all time. All he needs is some cooperation from his health to prove that there was never a better player in the sport’s history than the Spanish star.
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