ATP

Nadal refuses to rule out Roland-Garros return

By Sports Desk May 25, 2024

Rafael Nadal refused to rule out returning to Roland-Garros in the future, suggesting this French Open may not be his last after all.

Nadal is widely anticipated to retire after the 2024 season, meaning this year's French Open would be his final appearance at a major he has won a record 14 times.

The Spaniard has been handed a tough draw, with Nadal going up against Alexander Zverev in the first round.

However, ahead of that tie, Nadal told reporters this may not in fact be his last showing at Roland-Garros.

"If I have to tell you it's 100 per cent my last Roland Garros, sorry but I will not, because I cannot predict what's going on. I hope you understand," Nadal said.

"I don't want to close 100 per cent the door, because it's a very simple thing.

"First, I'm enjoying playing tennis, more or less healthy and playing without limitation.

"Maybe in one month and a half I'll say 'OK, it's enough, I can't keep going'. But today I cannot guarantee that it's going to be the last one."

Nadal has endured an injury-hit few seasons, but after playing in Barcelona, Madrid and Rome, feels he is getting closer to true fitness.

"I'm feeling better. That's the truth," Nadal added, appearing more cheerful than he has in recent months.

"Probably because we did things to try to feel better and we have been working without a stop to keep going with the process, to try to arrive here in a proper way."

Nadal's tally of 112 matches won at the French Open is more than any other player has managed when it comes to match wins at a single major, seven ahead of Roger Federer's tally of 105 at Wimbledon.

He expects a tough test against Zverev, though a potentially good omen is that he is the only player with over 10 wins against top-five opponents at Roland-Garros since the ATP Rankings were published in 1974, with 20 such victories.

"It's a super-tough first round. Maybe I go there and I repeat the disaster of Rome. It's a possibility. I don't want to hide that," Nadal said.

"But in my mind is something different, play much better and give myself a chance to be competitive. I didn't play against this level of opponent in a super-long time.

"The rest of the things are just talking and talking, and in the end don't matter. It's about my feelings and my feelings are better. I want to enjoy that match."

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