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Rafael Nadal could do Roger Federer his biggest favour yet with retirement plan

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Rafael Nadal could be poised to do Roger Federer a massive favour if he follows in the footsteps of the Swiss icon when the time comes to bring an end to his glittering tennis career. Nadal, who recently withdrew from the upcoming French Open due to a long-term hip injury, is nearing the end of his spell as one of the sport’s leading players and looks set to announce his retirement before the end of 2024.

The Spaniard has struggled with a variety of injury problems over the last few years and will miss the French Open, Wimbledon and possibly the US Open before eventually making his long-awaited return to the court. He recently confirmed that he would be taking a four-month break in order to allow his body to recover and hinted that he will only be able to play for one more year before eventually deciding to step back from the game as Federer did last winter.

“Too many days I have been stopping with too much pain,” Nadal told reporters at a press conference. “I don’t know when I will come back to the practice court, maybe two months, three, four. I am following my personal feelings for my body and personal happiness. My goal is to try to enjoy next year, which will probably be my last.”

It seems as though Nadal could have the perfect opportunity to say goodbye to the sport of tennis at next year’s Laver Cup, which was chosen by Federer as his final tournament as a professional towards the end of last year. Such a move from Nadal would serve as a major boost for his long-time rival, who part-owns the Laver Cup and would surely want nothing more than for the Manacor native to grace the competition for one last time.

The future of the Laver Cup appears to be uncertain following Federer’s retirement in terms of recruiting high-profile players, with the Swiss legend’s absence having the potential to stop the likes of Nick Kyrgios from wanting to compete at the tournament. Nadal would be keeping the spotlight on the event by choosing to play in it for the final time next year, which would be gratefully received by Federer after his own elaborate send-off last time around.

It remains to be seen how the next two years will end up playing out for Nadal, who will be desperately hoping to steer clear of any further injury problems upon his recovery from the hip issue that curtailed his Australian Open campaign back in January. He was recently tipped to bow out with a flourish by two-time Masters champion Alex Corretja, who believes that Nadal will be reluctant to retire before adding at least one more trophy to his cabinet.

No matter how he was before, he has to assess how he wants to face what he has left from now on, but being Rafa you always have the feeling that he still has a bullet in his chamber to do something great,” said Corretja earlier this year.

“You can never doubt special people like him, even if he comes from a very long injury and the process that he will have now will be difficult, I trust that there is still that great title to celebrate with him. [By] a great title I mean a Grand Slam, because a Masters more or less is not going to change anything.

“As for being [world] number one, it will be quite difficult because for that he needs to play a lot of tournaments, be very consistent, and that is no longer in his head. He has already been number one many times, it does not matter the weeks, and that is secondary.

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