Rafael Nadal unsure about French Open chances | ‘I can’t give 100 per cent every day’

Rafael Nadal unsure about French Open chances | ‘I can’t give 100 per cent every day’

Rafael Nadal is still not sure if he is going to play at the French Open in June, saying he is sometimes only able to play at “40 per cent” at the moment. 

Nadal, a 14-time champion at Roland Garros, couldn’t learn much from his comfortable straight-sets win over American teenager Darwin Blanch in the first round of the Madrid Open, cruising to a 6-1 6-0 victory over the mistake-prone 16-year-old on Thursday.

“I didn’t test much my body today,” the 37-year-old Nadal said. “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 making more mistakes.”

The encounter marked the largest age gap [21 years, 117 days] between two opponents at an ATP 1000 tournament.

“I try to play at my 100 per cent, but I can’t give my 100 per cent every day,” said Nadal.

“The thing is before, most of the time, I was able to give my 100 per cent of the 100 per cent. Today I’m able to give my 100 per cent of sometimes 40 per cent, sometimes 60 per cent, sometimes 70 per cent, 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 says he is sometimes only able to play at ’40 per cent’ at the moment

Nadal looked in good form and showed no physical limitations in just his third competitive match since returning from his latest injury lay-off. He had made his return in Barcelona last week, losing in the second round to Alex De Minaur, who will also be his second-round opponent in Madrid on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

Nadal had arrived in Madrid saying he was not 100 per cent fit, and that he was only going to play because the clay-court tournament was at home.

On Wednesday, the record five-time champion in Madrid said that in his current condition he would not play if this was the French Open.

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The Spaniard is trying to get back in shape for the tournament in Paris for what will likely be his last Roland Garros appearance.

A 22-time Grand Slam champion, Nadal had hip surgery last summer and said 2024 would probably be his last year on tour. He had skipped Monte Carlo, and his last tournament had been in Brisbane in January, when he played three matches.

“It’s part of my tennis career too. I went through a lot of injuries and I had to be back,” Nadal said.

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Nadal says he is enjoying being back at the Madrid Open for his 20th appearance following his win against 16-year-old Blanch

“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. I’ve never had almost 38 [years], I was in a different age. And 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.”

What’s coming up on Sky Sports Tennis?

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Find out all the ways to watch tennis on Sky Sports, including the US Open, ATP and WTA tours

In the run-up to the second Grand Slam of 2024 – the French Open at Roland Garros from May 26 – you can watch all of the biggest tennis stars in action live on Sky Sports as they compete across the clay-court season.

  • Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (ATP and WTA Masters 1000) – May 7-19
  • Geneva Open (ATP 250) – May 20-26
  • Lyon Open (ATP 250) – May 20-26
  • Internationaux de Strasbourg (WTA 500 with Emma Raducanu in action) – May 20-26
  • Morocco Open (WTA 250) – May 20-26

How to watch play on Sky Sports Tennis

The stars of tennis will appear on the new Sky Sports Tennis channel every day
The stars of tennis will appear on the new Sky Sports Tennis channel every day

Sky Sports has confirmed a new home for tennis in the UK and Ireland, with Sky Sports Tennis on Sky and NOW, making tennis content available all day, every day for fans.

Sky Sports will broadcast more live tennis than anywhere else, bringing over 4,000 matches from more than 80 tournaments a year on the ATP and WTA Tours, as well as full coverage of the US Open, all exclusively live.

Non-Sky subscribers can stream live matches with a NOW Sports Day and Month Membership, via Sky Sports Tennis, Sky Sports Arena, and Sky Sports Mix channels.

For further access, fans will also be able to follow their favourite players and gain deeper insights from both Tours via Sky Sports News, the Sky Sports app, on SkySports.com and via Sky Sports social channels.

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