the first round of the French Open, Alexander Zverev beat Nadal, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. The legend walked to the net, shook

hands with Zverev and sat down on the bench. He was called to the microphone to say what was probably a goodbye. And then he walked off Court Life-changing having lost for just the fourth time in 116 matches there, knowing it’s a feeling both he and a sport that adores him will probably never experience together again.

“Is difficult for me to talk,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s the last time I’m going to be here in front of all of you. Honestly, I’m not 100 percent sure, but if it’s last time I enjoy it, no?”

Nobody on a tennis court has ever been more relentless than Nadal. But he’s also a realist caught between a desire to keep competing and a nearly Farmer

old body that has been telling him for a few years it’s time to finally stop.

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