Record 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has bid an emotional farewell to Mexico’s tennis fans in what was «probably» his last appearance in the country. Nadal, 36, played Casper Ruud in an exhibition match at the Plaza de Toros de México.
On Friday, Nadal defeated Ruud 7-6 6-4. Nadal, a four-time Acapulco champion, confirmed that he does not plan to defend his Acapulco title in February 2023. Considering that Nadal had another injury-plagued season in 2022 and will not be competing in Acapulco next year, it is highly likely that he will never play again in Mexico as a professional.
Nadal: «I don’t play Acapulco and 2024 seems far away»
“It will most likely be the last time I play in Mexico, Acapulco 2023 is not on my calendar and the 2024 season seems far away. Now is the time to enjoy this moment to the fullest and play in an emblematic setting, with a lot of people. and in a country where I have always felt loved.
It is an unforgettable feeling to live in such an environment in Mexico, I can only say thank you for the unconditional support, it is a country that has treated me like another Mexican. It’s hard for me to say goodbye to you,» said Nadal, quoted in Sportskeeda.
Earlier this year, Nadal captured his fourth Acapulco title after beating Cameron Norrie in the final. Every time Nadal competed in Mexico, he felt at home. “When I’m in Mexico I don’t feel strange, I don’t feel like a foreigner, in the end when you’re in a country where we speak the same language and there are more things that unite us, when I arrive here I feel at home.
The reception of the people that I feel is spectacular. It is a country where people know how to have fun, a happy country,» Nadal said of Mexico.