Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2023

Rafael Nadal: If I arrive in Paris like I feel today, I would not go on court

Rafael Nadal has admitted that he would not play Roland Garros feeling the way that he currently is, but the record 14-time champion has claimed that it is not ‘the end of the world’.

Nadal made his ATP Tour return last week in Barcelona, and is expected to continue his progress at the Madrid Open this week.

Despite this, the Spaniard has confessed that he would not play Roland Garros if he was to continue feeling this way, “If I arrive in Paris like I feel today, I would not go on court. I will not play. I will play Roland Garros if I feel competitive. If I can play, I play. If I can’t play, I can’t.”

Although Nadal is not clear on his current French Open prospects, he may still get to say farewell on the grounds of Roland Garros at the Olympics, which is what the 37-year-old pointed out when speaking to the media earlier today.

“It won’t be the end of the world or the end of my career,” said Rafael Nadal. “I still got goals after Roland Garros, like the Olympics.”

Nadal is a record five-time champion at the Madrid Open, but has confirmed that this will be in his final appearance at the tournament.

“The goal is be on court. Enjoy as long as possible,” explained the former world No.1. “I mean, that’s the thing. Try to finish the tournament alive in terms of body issues, and enjoy the fact that I will be able to compete one more time in the professional tour and here at home in Madrid, a place that give me everything in terms of support.”

He continued, “So let’s see. I mean, in this sport, I say it plenty of times, but that’s true. Things can change very quick, you know. If I am not there to try that change, for sure a change will not happen.

“So I am here, giving myself a chance. If at some moment my situation improves so I am able to find better feelings in my body, I need to be ready and I will not be ready if I am at home without being what I am today.”

When continuing to answer questions from the media, Nadal confirmed that his concerns were related to injury rather than his actual tennis level, “I think touching the ball, I mean, I am not playing bad. It’s about more body limitations, no. I went through a lot of things last year and a half, two years.

“So body feelings are not good enough to feel myself playing with free enough in terms of body issues. That’s not allowing me to compete the way that I like to compete, I would like to compete. But that’s it. That’s it. I can’t say another thing, because I will be lying.”

Nadal is expected to make his 17th appearance at the Madrid Open tomorrow, when he takes on 16-year-old American wildcard Darwin Blanch in the first round.

Inside the baseline…

It is a sad admission to read from Rafael Nadal, who provided some encouragement to fans last week after playing his first clay court tournament in two years. The big difference between playing tournaments like Barcelona and Madrid compared to Roland Garros is the best-of-five set format, and if Nadal is already struggling to play best-of-three then it is understandable why that seems like an even more challenging step. Hopefully he can at least take to the court at the Paris major, which begins in just under a months time.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.