Juan Martin del Potro Reflects on Rafael Nadal’s Legacy

by Roger F

The end is near for Rafael Nadal. Even though the 37-year-old tennis superstar hasn’t made an official announcement just yet, it’s clear that retirement is on the horizon for him. Injuries have plagued the 14-time French Open winner over the last few years, and in 2024 alone, they’ve forced him to skip events like the Monte Carlo Masters and the Australian Open.

If this really is it for Rafael Nadal and tennis, the tennis world will miss him immensely. Sports networks have anchored their tennis coverage around Nadal and Roger Federer for decades. The FanDuel betting site and others have always been featuring Nadal in their listings, drawing significant attention and interest from tennis enthusiasts and bettors alike.

Nadal’s one-time rival Juan Martin del Potro, who beat him en route to a 2009 US Open title, reflected on the legacy that Nadal will leave behind recently.

On His Most Memorable Match Against Nadal

Most people might automatically assume that Del Potro’s 2009 win against Nadal at the US Open would be his most memorable match against the tennis legend. A Rafael Nadal US Open tournament win came four times in his career, the first one coming one year later in 2010.

But Del Potro remembers a 2018 match against Nadal at Wimbledon best. “I lost that match, but in the end, we hugged each other,” he said during a recent interview. “It was super emotional, and when I see images of that match and that moment, I don’t care that I lost because that moment is already winning. The result doesn’t matter, but that hug, the emotion, the fans. It was an unforgettable day.” 

On Nadal Attempting to Retire on His Own Terms

While speaking on Nadal, Del Potro also said he’s glad to see him try to leave the game of tennis on his own terms. Del Potro himself had no choice but to retire back in 2022 due to nagging knee pain that prevented him from enjoying a proper sendoff. He gives Nadal credit for pushing through pain he’s dealt with to give his fans one more glimpse of Rafael Nadal’s tennis before he leaves the game for good.

“Nadal is giving himself the pleasure of retiring in his own way and under his conditions. It is something that, unfortunately, I couldn’t do because of my health,” Del Potro said. “What Rafa does is impressive. Watching him play and seeing that passion for competing and that energy he has is something unique.”

On Nadal’s Lasting Impact on Tennis

Del Potro closed by discussing the never-ending impact that players like Federer and now Nadal will continue to have on tennis despite their retirements. He suggested that it won’t be easy for tennis to transition to whatever is bound to come next. “I think we have to start assimilating that an era of tennis is going to end,” he said.

Stay tuned for the inevitable Rafael Nadal news about his pending retirement.

You may also like

Leave a Comment