Former world No 1 ‘doesn’t believe’ Rafael Nadal’s French Open participation comments

Former world No 1 ‘doesn’t believe’ Rafael Nadal’s French Open participation comments

Andy Roddick has declared he does not believe Rafael Nadal is unsure about playing the 2024 French Open after the Spaniard’s recent comments. 

The former world No 1 described Nadal as “the master of under promising and over delivering” and highlighted the fact the tennis great used to play down his chances even when he was an overwhelming favourite.

Nadal made a hugely positive run to the fourth round of the Madrid Open last week in the second tournament of his latest comeback, having returned to action at the Barcelona Open.

The 37-year-old defeated Darwin Blanch, Alex de Minaur and Pedro Cachin, before falling to Jiri Lehecka in the last 16 in what was likely his last match in Spain.

Before playing in Madrid, Nadal — who has revealed 2024 will likely be the final season of his glittering career — suggested there are no guarantees he will play this year’s French Open.

READ MORE: ‘Rafael Nadal will only play French Open if he thinks he can get to the end’, says Roger Federer’s ex-coach

“If I arrive in Paris like I feel today, I would not go on court,” said Nadal. “I will not play. I will play Roland Garros if I feel competitive. If I can play, I play. If I can’t play, I can’t.”

Following his loss to Lehecka, Nadal insisted he would not make a decision on his Roland Garros participation until after the Italian Open.

“I don’t know what can happen, but now I have four games in Madrid behind me. This is the reality. Today I was more muscularly tired, yes, but it is nothing serious,” explained the 22-time Grand Slam champion in a press conference.

“I have endured several hours of competition at the highest possible level, and that’s the most important thing. At the tennis level, I also leave happier than I arrived, although if I don’t have the confidence that my body can handle tennis, it’s impossible for this to work.

“If my body can handle it well, no. I know what can happen, and although it is difficult to imagine great things today, I stand by what I said the other day: in sports things change quickly and I am doing things in the most prudent way I can, no. I know how to do it better.

“About Paris… after Rome I will say. I understand your urgency and I would also like to have a clear vision of what is going to happen, but since I don’t have it today, I can’t tell you more.

“I hope to be able to play in Rome, if there are no setbacks, and I’m going there with the hope of continuing to evolve.”

Speaking on an episode of the Served with Andy Roddick podcast, Roddick expressed his scepticism over Nadal’s French Open doubts.

“At the beginning of the tournament [in Madrid], he said, ‘If I feel the way that I feel physically right now with confidence, not knowing what I have, I don’t know if I’ll play Roland Garros’,” the 2003 US Open winner began.

“I tend to not believe that. I think he’s the master of under promising and over delivering,” During his prime, he’d be going into like the first round of Roland Garros against someone ranked like 70 in the world and be like, ‘I don’t know, it could go either way.’

“I used to not really believe that. I honestly think he just works from a place of, ‘This could go wrong, I’m going to hustle my way to make it not so and give my best effort.’”

Nadal, a 14-time French Open winner, will next feature at the Italian Open in Rome, which begins on May 8. The Spaniard will play qualifier in his opening match at the Masters 1000 event he has won 10 times.

READ MORE: ATP Italian Open draw: Novak Djokovic handed tricky route as Rafael Nadal learns his fate

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