Is Rafael Nadal playing at the 2024 French Open? Injury update

Is Rafael Nadal playing at the 2024 French Open? Injury update

Rafa Nadal’s journey at the 2024 Madrid Open came to a halt just after midnight on Wednesday after the Spanish tennis player fell to Czech player Jiri Lehecka in their round of sixteen match, thus marking Nadal’s final professional appearance at the Madrid tournament. The positive news was that there were no report of any injury holding the 37-year-old back, and that bodes well for the coming weeks.

The match concluded with a tribute from the Madrid Open organisation to Nadal, the player with the most titles (5) and victories (59), prompting the Spaniard to reminisce as a video showcasing his best moments in the tournament was projected. However, after this look back, Nadal is already focusing forward, seeking further goals for this season.

Nadal’s 2024 tennis roadmap taking shape

In the post-match press conference against Lehecka, Nadal confirmed his roadmap following his defeat in Madrid, with the Rome Masters 1000 (8-19 May) as his next destination.

“I’m going to try to play in Rome, another special tournament in my career. I’ve won it 10 times, experienced many emotions there too,” he said. “Playing tournaments where I’ve had success, I missed Monte Carlo, but in Rome, I enjoy it a lot. I will try to play well, I want to be competitive and play good tennis, I will work hard to see what can happen.”

Thus, barring any last-minute unforeseen circumstances, Nadal plans to head to Rome this weekend to begin preparations for the tournament on the courts of the Foro Italico in the Italian capital, which better suit him as they are played almost at sea level. There, Nadal has lifted the champion’s trophy 10 times, although in his last participation in 2022, when he competed despite a foot injury, he was eliminated in the round of sixteen by Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

Nadal will compete again with a protected ranking in Rome (currently 305th in the ATP virtual rankings), which will require him to start from the first round, commencing his journey in the tournament on either Wednesday 8 May or Thursday 9 May, against an opponent determined by the draw. Subsequently, he would face a seeded player in the second round if he progresses past his debut.

Roland Garros in the balance for Nadal

Depending on Nadal’s feelings after the Rome tournament, the Spaniard will decide whether to compete in one of the highlighted dates on his calendar since his return to competition: the French Open at Roland Garros (26 May – 9 June), which would be his first Grand Slam since the 2023 Australian Open.

“I’ll talk about Paris after Rome,” he said. “I would like to have certainty but I don’t have it. I’m going to explore what can happen in Rome.”

If Nadal does indeed make it to the prestigious French tournament, he would be returning two years after winning the title in 2022 and would seek his fifteenth title on the clay of the Philippe Chatrier Court in what could be his last dance in Paris.”

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