‘Do not assume’ that is Rafael Nadal’s last French Open

Rafael Nadal smiled. He joked. He sounded upbeat. He is been enjoying properly and feeling higher in observe. He’s desperate to get going at Roland Garros after dealing for therefore lengthy with hip and belly issues.

Oh, after which there’s this little tidbit he dropped throughout a pre-tournament information convention Saturday: This French Open may not change into the 14-time champion’s final look at his favorite occasion, in spite of everything.

Due to his age — he turns 38 on June 3 — and his accidents and his previous statements about figuring 2024 can be his final 12 months on tour, everybody from different gamers to followers to the media has been assuming it will likely be his farewell look on the French Open.

Requested whether or not that is correct, Nadal smiled and replied: “Do not assume that.”

“It is a huge, huge likelihood that it will be my final Roland Garros,” Nadal stated. “But when I’ve to let you know it is 100 per cent my final Roland Garros? Sorry, however I cannot. As a result of I can’t predict what is going on on.”

The Spaniard, who turns 38 on June 3, missed a lot of the final two seasons due to well being issues, together with hip surgical procedure that pressured him to take a seat out the French Open a 12 months in the past, his first absence there since he made his debut as a teen. He’s simply 7-4 in 2024, and there had been some doubt after a lopsided loss on the Italian Open two weeks in the past whether or not he would even enter the clay-court match in Paris in any respect.

However he did present up and has been coaching in entrance of loud crowds this week. As a result of his rating is so low after such little exercise — as soon as No. 1, he was No. 276 this week — Nadal didn’t get the good thing about a seeding and was drawn to face No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev in a showdown that would be the deal with Monday, Day 2 of the match.

“Ideally, I might have preferred to play him within the later stage of the match, however it’s how it’s now. He’s unseeded this 12 months. I’m seeded,” Zverev stated. “You recognize, it is a robust draw, but it surely’s a troublesome draw for each of us. We’ll see the way it goes.”

Nadal stated he has been practising properly and feels as if he can play with anybody now, a sensation that has been fleeting for some time.

“I in all probability will say is the primary week since I come again enjoying tennis that I’m able to run the right approach with out having a variety of limitations,” he stated. “That encourages me.”

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