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Can Rafael Nadal retire from tennis on a high? Laura Robson hopes he gets send off he wants

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Rafael Nadal will hope to retire from tennis on a high with Laura Robson hoping he gets the send off he deserves later this year; you can watch over 80 tournaments a year, including the US Open, exclusively live on Sky Sports Tennis

an the legendary Rafael Nadal retire from tennis on an ultimate high? Laura Robson hopes the 22-time Grand Slam champion gets the send off that he wants.

The 37-year-old Spaniard, who has said he expects to retire after the 2024 season, returned to competition in Brisbane in January after almost a year sidelined with a hip flexor injury.

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He was then out for another stretch due to a thigh issue and while he skipped Monte-Carlo before returning in Barcelona last week he says he is far from being in top form and does not know if he will play in next month’s French Open.

Nadal beat wild card Darwin Blanch 6-1 6-0 in the first round of the Madrid Open on Thursday, with his wife and one-year-old son Rafael Jr watching on.

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The Spaniard looked in good form and showed no physical limitations in just his third competitive match since returning from his latest injury layoff.

However, having lost in the second round of Barcelona to Alex De Minaur, the Australian will also be his second-round opponent in Madrid on Saturday – not before 3pm BST – live on Sky Sports Tennis.

He has won the French Open 14 times and would likely be making his final appearance in a tournament he has made his own in recent years.

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“I try to play at my 100 per cent, but I can’t give my 100 per cent every day,” said Nadal after his win against 16-year-old Blanch.

“The thing is before, most of the time, I was able to give my 100 per cent of the 100 per cent. Today I’m able to give my 100 per cent of sometimes 40 per cent, sometimes 60 per cent, sometimes 70 per cent, and if I am able to raise this percentage day after day or week after week, why not in the future what can happen? If not, it’s impossible.”

Sky Sports’ tennis analyst Robson says Nadal has been somewhat unlucky with injuries, but he will only take part in tournaments if he knows he has a chance of winning them.

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“I feel really bad for him because it seems like there is just one issue after the other and it happens to everyone when you start coming back from such a long time off. His original hip flexor injury that saw him unable to compete for a year and that might be fine now but then he’s picked up the back issue and the knee problem,” explained Robson.

“It feels non-stop for him at the moment. He’s won Monte-Carlo 11 times so he’s probably thinking, ‘I’m not going to play in this tournament unless I know that I can win it’.

“Nadal has previously stated that he wants to retire after the 2024 season and you really hope that he is going to get the send off that he wants because he’s travelled to a lot of tournaments, almost competed in them and then had to pull out in the last moment.”

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With the Olympics in Paris also on his agenda, Nadal could be poised for a Laver Cup swansong in Berlin after accepting Bjorn Borg’s invitation to play for Team Europe in September.

Nadal and Roger Federer famously teamed up in the doubles at the 2022 Laver Cup in London for the Swiss great’s last match before retirement, so wouldn’t it be ironic should the great Spaniard play his last match in the presence of tennis greatness.

Sky Sports has confirmed a new home for tennis in the UK and Ireland, with Sky Sports Tennis on Sky and NOW, making tennis content available all day, every day for fans.

Sky Sports will broadcast more live tennis than anywhere else, bringing over 4,000 matches from more than 80 tournaments a year on the ATP and WTA Tours, as well as full coverage of the US Open, all exclusively live.

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