Rafael Nadal has revealed that he still has the drive to keep performing at the highest level and will continue to play tennis till he has the burning desire inside him. The Spaniard had to pull out of the Australian Open in the quarter-finals against Marin Cilic as the game went into five sets.

However, he played down talk of any major setback, stating that he will be back on the court in the Mexico Open after recovering from a hip injury. The setback opened the doors for Roger Federer to win his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, successfully defending the title he also won in 2017, defeating Nadal in the final.

The Swiss ace increased his gap with Nadal to four Grand Slams, strengthening his claim to be the best tennis player the world has ever seen. The duo came to Melbourne on the back of a brilliant 2017 campaign, winning 13 titles between them. They shared the four Grand Slams at two a piece with Nadal winning the French and US Opens and Federer making his mark with the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

Nadal insisted that he is not tired of the rigours of playing tennis at 31 and he is happy to be in the position he finds himself in today. He did not see himself playing regularly at this age a few years ago and wants to keep going as long as he can.

"I'm not tired of playing; I'm fortunate and happy to be in this situation at 31 years old. Years ago, I didn't think I'd be where I am today. I figured that at this point, I'd be retired and dedicating myself to something else," Nadal said, as quoted by the Express.

"But now, I'm keeping the illusion alive that I can still get better and better. I still have the drive to get up every morning and train with the aim to improve. For as long as that lasts, I'll keep enjoying my time on the Tour and competing week in and week out."

Rafael Nadal
Nadal retired in the fifth set of his quarter-final match against Marin Cilic Getty