ITF president disappointed for Nadal, says Swiatek will know 'everybody's after her'

By Sports Desk May 25, 2023

International Tennis Federation (ITF) president David Haggerty is disappointed that Rafael Nadal will not be able to feature at Roland Garros, which he called "Rafa's house".

Nadal has not played since suffering a second-round exit at the Australian Open in January, having struggled with a hip injury during his straight-sets defeat to Mackenzie McDonald, and will not play at the French Open.

The Spaniard last week confirmed he will be unable to compete at Roland Garros, where he is a record 14-time champion.

When announcing his withdrawal, Nadal said 2024 would "probably" be his final year on the ATP Tour and outlined his intention of making farewell appearances at "important tournaments".

Haggerty said: "I think it's disappointing for Rafa not to be there because we know Roland Garros as Rafa's house so to speak.

"He's won it so many times and people love to watch him play. [It is] disappointing.

"I was happy to hear that he is talking about the possibility of his return to the Davis Cup finals, which would be fantastic. I wish him a successful recovery and hope to see him on the court again."

 

While Nadal will not be present in Paris, WTA world number one Iga Swiatek is set to be in action.

Swiatek is the defending champion, and Haggerty says the Pole will be well aware her rivals are gunning for her title.

"She's the number one player in the world and I think that she has been ranked number one for more than a year consecutively," he said.

"So [she is] a very, very good player. She won Roland Garros last year, so I expect to see her performances continued to be good knowing that everybody's after her to try to beat number one."

At 21, Swiatek already has three grand slam titles under her belt. And with 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz conquering all on the ATP Tour, Haggerty thinks tennis' future is in safe hands, even as Nadal and Novak Djokovic reach the twilight of their careers.

"I think we have many good young men and young women that are showing how great tennis is and and putting on good rivalries already," he said. 

"So I think the future is bright."

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