Rafa Nadal revealed his pain after leaving his wife and newborn son at home in Mallorca to travel to the Paris Masters this week.
The Spanish champion confirmed last month that he and wife Xisca welcomed the boy – their first child together.
After a short break, the 2nd no again in action at the Paris Masterswho leaves her newborn at home with Xisco.
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Nadal spoke ahead of the ATP 1000 tournament about how difficult it was to leave.
“It’s a different approach compared to the usual one,” Nadal said.
“It was always difficult to leave home. It’s really interesting how even after two or three weeks you leave your son at home and you can’t see him, it’s interesting how after only three weeks of knowing him you start to miss him.
“All changes in this life are difficult and one has to adapt to it. At the same time, it’s true that we’re lucky these days to be able to use technology to make video calls whenever we want, so that always helps.”
Nadal admitted early in his career that he did not want to start a family until after retirement.
At 36 years old and with a newborn son, many believe we will see Nadal step down within the next 12 months.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the 22-time Grand Slam winner said he was not interested in battling Carlos Alcaraz for the world No. 1 spot, another telling sign that retirement is on the horizon.
Nadal could still end the year at the top of the rankings, but to overtake Alcaraz, he would probably need a deep run in Paris and the ultimate ATP Finals in Turin later this month.
“To be clear, I understand it’s an interesting point because you’re talking about fighting for No. 1, [but] I’m no longer fighting to become number 1 in the world,” Nadal said.
“I’m just fighting to continue to be competitive in every tournament I play. That’s something I said a long time ago, I’m not going to fight to be No. 1 anymore. I have in the past. I have a few times achieved this goal in my career and I was very, very happy and proud to achieve it, but I’m at a point in my tennis career where I’m not fighting for No. 1.
“I’m excited to be here. I’m here to do my best and then take things as they come. Hopefully I’ll be ready, I’ll try to be competitive. We’ll see. I’m excited about it.”
Rafa Nadal proud of achievements in 2022
Nadal won the Australian and French Open titles in 2022, one more Grand Slam than Djokovic’s 21.
The veteran champions are now the only players in the top ten over the age of 30, with four of the other eight players under the age of 25.
“I’m proud of all the things that I can still be here in 2022,” Nadal said when asked what it’s like to compete with the next generation of talent.
“That’s something that says I’ve been able to do a lot of things in my life, not just my tennis career. To keep the passion, the love for the game and the fighting spirit.
“I’m proud of it and I just hope I can enjoy the last two events of the year.”
meanwhile, Djokovic opened his campaign at the Masters tournament in Paris on Tuesday with a routine 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 victory over Maxime Cressy.
Djokovic, a six-time ATP 1000 champion in the French capital, struggled in the opening set but emerged unscathed after the American double-faulted twice in the tie-break.
“It was very intense, just a lot of pressure,” he said.
“When you play someone who serves that well – first serve and second serve – you don’t have a lot of room to relax and maybe play some softer games. The break came at the right time, the perfect moment actually. I was very happy with that, the way I held my serve, I didn’t face a break.”
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