Rafael Nadal gives heartbreaking French Open update as struggles continue

Rafael Nadal gives heartbreaking French Open update as struggles continue

Rafael Nadal gave a heartbreaking update about his French Open chances as he revealed that he may not play in the clay-court Grand Slam. The Spaniard is the record 14-time champion at Roland Garros. But he could be robbed of a farewell at his most successful tournament if he doesn’t feel ready to compete next month.

Nadal is still battling the effects of his injuries as he revealed that he may not be ready to play the French Open. The former world No. 1 will begin his Madrid Open campaign on Thursday but said that, if he feels the way he currently does when the next Grand Slam rolls around, he will not compete.

“If I arrive in Paris like I feel today, I would not go on court. I will not play,” the 37-year-old said on Wednesday. “I will play Roland Garros if I feel competitive. If I can play, I play. If I can’t play, I can’t.”

Nadal has not played in the French Open since lifting his 14th trophy there in 2022. On multiple occasions, he has admitted that this could be his final season. If he does retire at the end of 2024, it means that he won’t get the chance to say goodbye to the tournament.

But Nadal does not believe that it would be the “end of the world” to miss the French Open and he is still hoping to compete in the Olympics, with the tennis event being staged on the Roland Garros grounds. He added: “It won’t be the end of the world or the end of my career. I still got goals after Roland Garros, like the Olympics.”

Although the 37-year-old does not feel good on the court, he has committed to competing in Madrid this week for personal reasons. And Nadal is still hopeful that his situation can improve. “The goal is be on court. Enjoy as long as possible. I mean, that’s the thing. Try to finish the tournament alive in terms of body issues, and enjoy the fact that I will be able to compete one more time in the professional tour and here at home in Madrid, a place that give me everything, no, in terms of support,” he said of his decision to compete at his home tournament.

“So let’s see. I mean, in this sport, I say it plenty of times, but that’s true. Things can change very quick, you know. If I am not there to try that change, for sure a change will not happen. So I am here, giving myself a chance. If at some moment my situation improves so I am able to find better feelings in my body, I need to be ready and I will not be ready if I am at home without being what I am today.”

Nadal competed in Barcelona last week, where he reached the second round and lost to Alex De Minaur. He faces 16-year-old wildcard Darwin Blanch on Thursday and will be rewarded with a rematch against De Minaur if he wins. But the five-time Madrid Open champion feels that his injuries have limited his game.

“I think touching the ball, I mean, I am not playing bad. It’s about more body limitations, no. I went through a lot of things last year and a half, two years,” he said of his tennis.

“So body feelings are not good enough to feel myself playing with free enough in terms of body issues. That’s not allowing me to compete the way that I like to compete, I would like to compete. But that’s it. That’s it. I can’t say another thing, because I will be lying.”

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