Rafael Nadal still undecided on French Open, Olympics return despite easing past Darwin Blanch at Madrid Open – Eurosport

Rafael Nadal still undecided on French Open, Olympics return despite easing past Darwin Blanch at Madrid Open – Eurosport

Nadal was dominant throughout with seemingly no fitness issues. But after besting Blanch in a match that lasted only a few minutes longer than an hour, perhaps the fact that Nadal doesn’t feel adequately tested isn’t too surprising.

“Today I played against an opponent with a future in front (of him), but today he’s still making mistakes. So I just tried to be there, be solid all the time without taking a lot of risks and (it) worked well.

“I mean, I didn’t test much my body today. I think I played a decent match doing the things that I had to do to be through, but at the same time, I played against a player that today – I don’t know in a few weeks – he’s not solid enough yet because he’s making more mistakes.”

The 14-time French Open winner has yet to fully commit to playing at Roland-Garros, admitting that he’s yet to feel 100% since recovering from various hip and abdominal injuries since the beginning of 2023.

The 37-year-old cast further doubt on his participation on Wednesday, saying he would not play if he continued in his current state and will only travel to Paris if he feels competitive.

‘Means a lot to me’ – Nadal reacts after beating Blanch in Madrid

When asked how his current condition compares to his top level, Nadal replied: “I try to play at my 100%, but I can’t give my 100% every day. I give my 100% everyday. The thing is before, most of the time, I was able to give my 100% of the 100%.

“Today, I’m able to give my 100% of sometimes 40%, sometimes 60%, sometimes 70%, and if I am able to raise this percentage day after day or week after week, why not in the future, what can happen? If not, it’s impossible.”

Nadal is no stranger to coming back from injury, but as retirement looms, he says this comeback is a “different story”.

“It’s part of my tennis career too. I went through a lot of injuries and I had to be back. And the good is that I was able to be back strong very quick. That’s why I was able to achieve so many records in terms of holding my ranking in a very high position for such a long time and to be competitive.

“Today is a different story. I mean, I never had this super long period of time without playing, and important surgeries, and I’ve never had that in almost 38 (years), I was in a different age.

“I’m trying as always and let’s see. I am not negative, I’m just realistic. I am here to try to explore what can happen in the next couple of weeks.”

The Madrid Open is just his third tournament this year after Brisbane in January and Barcelona earlier this month.

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