French Open 2024: Is Rafael Nadal fit enough to play? Tennis legend says, ’I will be in Roland Garros’

Nadal faces the decision to play at the French Open 2024 due to physical issues after losing in Rome.

First Published12 May 2024, 10:04 AM IST
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, meets with journalists at the end of his match against Hubert Hurkacz, of Poland, at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Saturday, May 11, 2024.(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, meets with journalists at the end of his match against Hubert Hurkacz, of Poland, at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Saturday, May 11, 2024.(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

 The 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal struggled to play at his supreme form at the Italian Open, losing in straight sets against Hubert Hurkacz.

After the defeat against Hurkacz in Rome, Nadal looks ahead and plans to play for a record-extending 15th French Open title later this month. "The time has come to make a decision," Nadal said of his fitness problem, as he prepared for "the most important event" of his tennis career.

The former World No.1 addressed the "physical issues" that have been bothering him and may cause the 37-year-old to miss the second Grand Slam of the season.

"Now [there are] two ways. Probably one is to say, Okay, I am not ready, I am not playing well enough. Then is the moment to take a decision in terms of not playing Roland Garros. Another is to accept how I am today and work the proper way to try to be in a different way in two weeks," Nadal said as quoted by ATP.

The Spaniard stated he will "try" his hardest to be fit for the French Open, but he has a "decision" to make.

"The decision, as you can imagine, is not clear in my mind today. But if I have to say what's my feeling and if my mind is closer one way or the other way, I'm going to say I will be in Roland Garros and try my best," he added.

"Physically I have some issues, but not probably yet enough to say not playing in the most important event of my tennis career. Let's see what's going on, how I feel myself mentally tomorrow, after tomorrow, and in one week. If I feel ready, I'm going to try to be there and fight for the things that I have been fighting the last 15 years, even if now it seems impossible," said the former World No. 1.

However, a dismal conclusion to his 2024 campaign will not cloud Nadal's recollections of his exploits in Rome.

"I always say that I will never be able to say thank you enough for all the love and support that I receive around the world. Here in Rome is obviously one of the most important events in my tennis career, one of these events that is going to be in my heart for so many reasons," Nadal said as quoted by ATP.

"Here I played a few of the most important matches, beautiful matches, emotional ones. In a lot of moments of my tennis career, I was able to come back from tough moments playing here in Rome, especially the last eight years when I arrived here with some doubts, then I started to play well here. Obviously, it was not the case today, but it really happened in the past. I enjoyed a lot playing in this court," he added.

Nadal was playing in only his third tour-level event since returning from injury in mid-April. Despite the fact that the Spaniard is still striving to recover his best level while easing back in physically, he felt his performance against Hurkacz was an incorrect picture of how he feels.

"He was serving well. It was difficult for me to return. It's difficult to feel yourself with real chances of come back with his serve and without being able to create enough damage to him and creating mistakes," said the former No. 1.

"That's it. Just accept that. It was a tough day for me in all ways because I felt more ready than what I showed. That gives me a bad feeling, because [I was] feeling better, [but was not] able to show myself on court... As I said before the tournament started, I am little bit more unpredictable today, not playing enough for the last two years," he added.

Nadal squandered five break opportunities in the first game of his debut ATP Head2Head match against Hurkacz. That subsequently proved costly, as the Pole settled down behind his serve and gained command of the match in the middle of the first set.

"I think it was a tough one, obviously. It's obvious that I started the match well. First few games, almost half an hour for the first two games, having a few chances and playing well. Then [he] had the break, and I lost a little bit the way to push him back, the way to create that much on him," reflected Nadal, who is now 70-9 in the Italian capital.

"In the first set I think the score lied a little bit about what the game was. Then he was much better than me in the second. I didn't have that feeling in the first, but in the second, yeah. I was not able to push him back," he added. (ANI)

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First Published:12 May 2024, 10:04 AM IST
HomeSportstennis newsFrench Open 2024: Is Rafael Nadal fit enough to play? Tennis legend says, ’I will be in Roland Garros’

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