‘Rafael Nadal will only play French Open if he thinks he can get to the end’, says Roger Federer’s ex-coach

‘Rafael Nadal will only play French Open if he thinks he can get to the end’, says Roger Federer’s ex-coach

Ivan Ljubicic believes Rafael Nadal will only player at this year’s French Open “if he thinks he can get to the end” as he made a comparison with Roger Federer.

The Croatian, a former coach of Federer, does not think Nadal will compete at Roland Garros just “to make an appearance” because of the Spaniard’s champion mentality.

Nadal made a hugely positive run to the fourth round of the Madrid Open this week in just the second tournament of his latest comeback from injury and third event of 2024.

Following victories against Darwin Blanch, Alex de Minaur and Pedro Cachin, Nadal was beaten 7-5, 6-4 by Jiri Lehecka in the last 16 on Tuesday in what was likely his final match in Spain.

READ MORE: ‘Rafael Nadal is ready to accomplish great things’, declares former world No 2

The former world No 1, who will turn 38 in June, has repeatedly outlined that this year will probably be the final season of his glittering career, although he has not set a definitive timeline.

Nadal, who has won an astonishing record 14 French Open titles, admitted he may not play at Roland Garros if he does not feel he can be competitive.

“The world does not end with Roland Garros. There are the Olympic Games ahead and different formats that make me excited,” the Mallorcan said in his pre-tournament press conference in Madrid.

“I’m going to do it, things that I have to do to be able to play Paris. And if it is possible, it is possible and if not, I will not go to Paris if I [do not] feel qualified enough to compete.”

The 2024 French Open will run from May 26 to June 9. Nadal won the most recent of his 22 Grand Slams and 92 ATP singles titles at the 2022 edition of Roland Garros.

READ MORE: Is Rafael Nadal a contender for the French Open? The verdict is in

Speaking to Italian newspaper La Stampa, Ljubicic expressed that he understands Nadal’s thought process regarding his French Open participation.

“We’ve seen him for 20 years. We know his champion mentality. Like Federer at Wimbledon, in Paris he will only play if he thinks he can get to the end, not to make an appearance,” said the 10-time ATP title winner.

“If he says that, it means he’s not in a good condition. He knows very well what he needs, let’s see if he will find the right sensations in the remaining weeks.”

The former world No 3 also addressed the prospect of Nadal following in Federer’s footsteps by retiring at the Laver Cup, with the Spaniard due to feature at the 2024 edition of the team event.

“It’s possible, not probable,”Ljubicic assessed. “That he agreed to play it is positive, he is looking ahead. But he certainly won’t play for another ten years.”

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal issues French Open participation update after Madrid Open farewell

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