Former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero feels Rafael Nadal still has a few years left at the top of the sport.
Nadal is now back in training after closing down his 2018 season early due to injury and looks set to be fit for another assault on Australian Open glory in January.
The Spaniard has 17 Grand Slam titles to his name after adding an incredible 11th French Open crown earlier this year.
With injury dogging the left-hander in recent years, it is unclear how long he will play for but, buoyed by what rival Roger Federer is still doing at the age of 37, the man from Majorca can keep going for a while, according to his compatriot.
“I recently talked to a close friend, I see him competing for another couple of years,” Ferrero said. “And if he’s physically fit, his tennis will be great, and what impresses me most about him is his ability to keep a high motivation.
“But the most difficult thing in this sport is to keep this motivation at the highest level. That said, if you compete each time to win a Grand Slam, it is easier to keep it.
“Fortunately, he is able to, but I hope that the injuries will not be a problem for him because it is something difficult to manage every year because you are getting older.
“Nevertheless, every time I look at him, when he is in shape, he is a beast. He takes care of him and if Roger Federer says he will play until he is 40, Rafa, who is 32, still has a long way to go.”