Cape Town - Rafael Nadal has acknowledged he is reaching the twilight of his career, but is not planning to retire just yet.
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The Spaniard has endured a difficult start to the year, following up his straight-sets defeat to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open with an early exit from last week's Mexican Open when he lost to Australia's Nick Kyrgios.
Next up for the 17-time Grand Slam winner will be this month's Indian Wells Masters.
Nadal will be gunning for his fourth title there, although he won't be the only big-name draw in the field, as five-time winners Djokovic and Roger Federer are also set to compete.
The trio have dominated the men's game for well over a decade now but are all seemingly entering the latter stages of their careers.
Nadal has acknowledged that fact but hopes he can keep playing and winning for a little longer.
"Things are not eternal, years go on and we are in the final stage of our career. It's a fact," Nadal told sponsor Banco Sabadell.
"I hope it doesn't happen soon. But I am convinced I can be happy without tennis as well."
The world No 2 has also been quick to praise his two big rivals, admitting all three men have always enjoyed a healthy rivalry.
"I appreciate them for the many experiences we shared," he added.
"We had a relationship of full respect on and off the court."