'I'm here to continue playing' – Nadal will not entertain retirement talk ahead of Australian Open defence

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Rafael Nadal shot down questions over his potential retirement after losing to Cameron Norrie at the United Cup, saying he is "here to continue playing tennis".

As part of his preparation for next month's Australian Open, 22-time grand slam winner Nadal fell to a 3-6 6-3 6-4 defeat to Norrie as Great Britain seized a 2-0 lead over Spain in Sydney.

Norrie had not won a set against Nadal in their previous four matches, and the 36-year-old was asked afterwards how much longer he planned to continue before calling it a day on his historic career.

"Every time I come to a press conference, it seems like I have to retire," Nadal told reporters. "You're very, very interested in my retirement.

"At the moment, that's not the case. When this day comes, I'll let you know.

"But don't go on the subject of retirement because I'm here to continue playing tennis."

With just over two weeks until Nadal's Australian Open title defence gets underway, the Spaniard knows he will have to improve on his performance against Norrie, saying: "I need to be faster physically and a little more solid.

"There is a way to improve, but I have time before the Australian Open starts in two weeks."

While Nadal's shaky performance against Norrie could cause concern over whether he can defend his crown in Melbourne, he was keen to credit the British number one, stating: "He is a top player.

"He didn't impress me much because I know he is very good. He did a lot of things well, very solid, without mistakes, serving well. I can do things better and I need to."

Nadal will be in action again at the United Cup on Sunday, taking part in a doubles match with Paula Badosa against Daniel Evans and Harriet Dart.