'I will play Roland Garros if I feel competitive' – Nadal uncertain on French Open participation

By Sports Desk April 24, 2024

Rafael Nadal is unsure as to whether he will be fit enough to feature at the French Open.

Nadal is embarking on a swansong season, having indicated he will retire after the 2024 campaign.

The 37-year-old is set to make his farewell appearance at the Madrid Open this week, with his campaign starting against American teenager Darwin Blanch on Thursday.

Nadal, now ranked 512 in the world, has played just five Tour-level matches this year, as he makes his comeback from yet another injury lay-off.

And the 14-time Roland Garros champion acknowledged on Wednesday that he would be unlikely to play at the French Open should it be taking place this week.

"If I was in Paris today, I wouldn't go out to play," he said.

"I don't think I'll be able to play at 100 per cent, but it's important to be able to play for the last time in Madrid.

"It means a lot to me to play on this court where I've had some great moments."

Thankfully for Nadal, the French Open does not take place until late May, giving him time to get fit.

"If I arrive in Paris the way I feel today, I will not play," he said.

"I will play Roland Garros if I feel competitive. If I can play, I play. If I can't play, I can't. It won't be the end of the world or the end of my career. I still have goals after Roland Garros, like the Olympics.

"Few weeks [ago], I didn't know if I would be able to play again on the professional tour. It's not perfect but at least I am playing and I can enjoy again, especially in the tournaments that are so emotional for me.

"I'm able to enjoy the fun that I can say, probably, goodbye on court. Without trying to confuse anyone, I don't know what's going to happen in the next three weeks.

"I'm going to do the things I have to do to be able to play in Paris. And if I can, I can and if I can't, I can't. I'm going to Paris if I feel like I'm good enough. I'm going to Paris if I feel capable enough to compete."

Nadal played three times in Brisbane in January, losing to qualifier Jordan Thompson and subsequently missing the Australian Open.

He featured twice in Barcelona earlier in April, losing to Alex De Minaur in the round of 32.

Nadal has won five titles in Madrid, though, and the tournament holds a special place for him, as he underlined his determination to compete.

He added: "Some moments I find myself enjoying being on court, playing against the best players again and I feel myself, more or less competitive, and other moments I feel limitations and it’s difficult.

"The goal is to be on court, enjoy it as long as possible. I mean, that's the thing, enjoy the fact that I will be able to compete one more time on the professional tour and here at home in Madrid, a place that gives me everything in terms of support.

"I am here giving myself a chance. If at some moment my situation improves, if I am able to find better feelings in my body, I need to be ready."

Related items

  • Goffin claims fan spat chewing gum at him during French Open match Goffin claims fan spat chewing gum at him during French Open match

    David Goffin has claimed a member of the crowd spat chewing gum at him during Tuesday's first-round win over Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard at the French Open.

    Goffin was booed by the crowd on court 14 after his 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 win over the home favourite and responded by cupping his ears.

    The Belgian – who reached his highest singles ranking of seventh in 2017 – will face Alexander Zverev in the second round on Thursday, after the German eliminated Rafael Nadal.

    He was enraged by the treatment he received during his opening match, accusing French tennis fans of being less respectful than their counterparts at other grand slams. 

    "Clearly, it goes too far, it's total disrespect. It's really too much," Goffin told reporters. "It's becoming football, soon there will be smoke bombs, hooligans and there will be fights in the stands.

    "It's starting to become ridiculous. Some people are there more to cause trouble than to create an atmosphere.

    "Someone spat out their chewing gum at me. It was getting complicated. That's why I wanted to stay calm. If I started to get angry about it, it could have destabilised me.

    "I think it only happens in France. At Wimbledon, obviously, there's not that. Or in Australia either. At the US Open, it's still rather quiet. Here, it's a really unhealthy atmosphere."

  • Djokovic battles into second round of French Open after Herbert triumph Djokovic battles into second round of French Open after Herbert triumph

    Novak Djokovic fought off a stern challenge from Pierre-Hugues Hubert to make a successful start to his French Open title defence on Tuesday.

    The world number one held off the challenge of the home favourite to win 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, setting him on his way to a potential 25th Grand Slam title.

    Djokovic enjoyed a fairly comfortable first set but had to work hard to win the second as Hubert took a more aggressive approach. He steadied in time for a crucial tie-break though, holding his nerve to secure it.

    The Serbian regained control in the final set, sealing the win after a double fault from Hubert to set up a second-round tie against Roberto Carballes Baena.

    Data Debrief: Djokovic's title defence off to a good start

    Djokovic (367) trails only Roger Federer (369) for Men’s Singles match wins at Grand Slam events in the Open Era, and could overtake him with a strong showing at the French Open.

    He is now 72-2 in opening round matches at Grand Slam events, winning his past 69 such matches. Djokovic’s last opening round loss came via retirement at the 2011 US Open against Conor Niland.

  • Alcaraz and Sinner's ability same level as 'Big 4', believes Simon Alcaraz and Sinner's ability same level as 'Big 4', believes Simon

    Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner have the ability of the 'Big 4' if they can keep up their consistency, former world number six Gilles Simon believes.

    Alcaraz won his first grand slam title at the US Open in 2022, becoming the youngest world number one in the history of the ATP rankings at 19 years, four months, and six days, before winning his first Wimbledon title in 2023.

    Alcaraz beat Daniil Medvedev to win Indian Wells in March but has since struggled with an arm injury, with his last match before Roland Garros coming in the quarter-final of the Madrid Open on May 1.

    He beat J.J. Wolf in straight sets on Sunday to progress to the second round of the French Open, where he will face Jesper De Jong.

    Simon, speaking at the Roland-Garros eSeries by Renault tournament, believes in the Spaniard's ability, comparing him to some of the big names in the sport.

    He said: "I think that Alcaraz has the level of the big 3 or big 4 that we've had because he really has a level that's very high.

    "In other words, when his tennis is up and running, it's really hard to beat him. And I see him at the same level as [Rafael] Nadal, Novak [Djokovic], [Roger] Federer, even at their best, because he's got that level.

    "On the other hand, he can't keep it up at the moment, every week, with the consistency that those players have had. But he's young, he's still very young, and he's going to keep winning, keep progressing, keep raising his game.

    "Maybe he'll reach the level of those players. Last year, we saw him do very well at Roland Garros but ultimately lose due to cramp. But then he wins at Wimbledon, and you think that's it, he's reached that level [of the big 3].

    "Yes, he was there over that period, not over ten months for the moment. And I've no doubt he'll be there, but it's going to be complicated."

    Meanwhile, Sinner has enjoyed a strong start to 2024 saw him win his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open, following up with wins in Rotterdam and Miami.

    The Italian also cruised through his opening round at Roland Garros with a straight-sets win over Christopher Eubanks and is set to face Richard Gasquet next on Monday.

    "As far as I'm concerned, [Sinner's] at a slightly lower level than Alcaraz. But his average level is higher than that of Alcaraz. So that's where it's interesting," Simon added.

    "So far, Jannik has been able to show consistency for over six months, from the end of last season to his injuries at the start of the clay-court season.

    "He's been in the final of almost every tournament for six months, or a winner. His consistency is reminiscent of that of the Big 4.

    "But what's interesting is that he lost his big match at Indian Wells, against Alcaraz, who suddenly regained his level and overtook him. So that's how I see it."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.