Rafael Nadal: Spaniard will play French Open if ‘able to compete’

Rafael Nadal: Spaniard will play French Open if ‘able to compete’

Rafael Nadal says he will only play at the French Open next month if he feels “capable enough to compete”.

Spaniard Nadal, a 14-time champion at Roland Garros, missed the French Open for the first time in 19 years through injury in 2023.

The 37-year-old has indicated he plans to retire after the 2024 season.

He is set to make a farewell appearance at the Madrid Open this week and faces American 16-year-old Darwin Blanch in the first round on Thursday.

“If I was in Paris today, I wouldn’t go out to play,” Nadal said.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to play at 100% but it’s important to be able to play for the last time in Madrid. It means a lot to me to play on this court where I’ve had some great moments.”

Nadal made his most recent comeback from injury following a three-month absence at the Barcelona Open last week, winning his opening match before losing to Australian Alex de Minaur.

The 22-time major winner has only played five matches since January 2023 because of hip and abdominal injuries. A former world number one, he is currently ranked 644th.

The French Open, the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, starts on 26 May.

“Few weeks [ago], I didn’t know if I will be able to play again on the professional tour. It’s not perfect but at least I am playing and I can enjoy again, especially in the tournaments that are so emotional for me. I’m able to enjoy the fun that I can say probably goodbye on court,” Nadal said.

He added: “Without trying to confuse anyone, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next three weeks.

“I’m going to do the things I have to do to be able to play in Paris. And if I can, I can and if I can’t, I can’t. I’m going to Paris if I feel like I’m good enough. I’m going to Paris if I feel capable enough to compete.”

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