17-time Grand Slam champion to concentrate on tennis
As he works to prepare for a top-seeded start at the ATP season-opener in Brisbane, Rafael Nadal can safely put aside a topic which might occasionally become a worry.
The 32-year-old has re-affirmed there are no pending plans to marry longtime girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello, who has remained faithfully in his player box for nearly a decade and a half.
The 17-time Grand Slam has emphasises that he is still concentrating on tennis and winner said he wants to focus completely on tennis until his career ends.
The Spaniard remains the odd man out among the world-class elite, with Roger Federer the father of two sets of twins, andNovak Djokovi also sporting two kiddies.
Even Andy Murray, a former member of the major names, has two daughters.
But for Nadal, it’s tennis 24-7 for as long as his body holds out.
“I have a girlfriend, I’m not the only one to take this decision. You have to deal with the situations you know. There is no way to predict having a family.”
Nadal admitted: “At this age, I thought that I would have already been a former player and that I would have started a family.
“I thought that at 30 I would already have retired and instead I am still here. The only thing I know is that I will have a family.”
Perello attended university in London and now works with her boyfriend’s charity foundation, in the manner of Novak Djokovic’s wife Jepena does with one funded by her husband;s more than $120 million in on-court winnings.
Nadal is set to open in Brisbane after withdrawing as a precaution last week after playing – and losing – only one match last week in the Abu Dhabi exhibition won by Djokovic.
No. 2 Nadal came through another injury-hampered season (hip, ankle, knee plus an ankle operation in November), managing to front up for only nine tournaments; but he did claim a record 11th Roland Garros crown among his five titles.
“I don’t want setbacks,: he told Australian media. “I want to step forward and that is do the best things to stay healthy.
”The body is coming from a long period of time without competing, and having the surgery one month and two weeks ago – so it’s step by step.”
He added: “My goal is to try to be ready for the Australian Open, I think I’m on the way to make that happen.”