Rafael Nadal - Roland Garros 2024

Rafael Nadal: I’m not saying I’m retiring today

Rafael Nadal has potentially played his final match at Roland Garros, but the 14-time champion admitted that he is still ‘not 100% sure’ whether he will return to the tournament next year.

Nadal was beaten in straight sets by fourth seed Alexander Zverev, 6-3 7-6(5) 6-3, in only the Spaniard’s fourth defeat in 116 matches at the Paris major.

This marks the first time in Nadal’s career that he has lost back-to-back matches on clay, having also lost the match prior against Hubert Hurkacz in Rome.

Despite the disappointment of the defeat, Nadal received a huge ovation from the Parisian crowd and addressed them after the match.

“It is incredible, I want to say thank you. It is difficult for me to talk,” said Nadal. “I am not 100% sure if this is going to be the last time I am in front of you. The feelings I have today are hard to describe. To feel the love in the place I love the most.

“I have to congratulate Sascha [Zverev] for this great match. I know 2022 has been a super tough moment for you and so I wish you the best. I have been going through a tough moment, so many injuries but I went through it to get back here. I had my chances but it was not enough against a great player.”

Nadal’s match was onlooked by many famous faces including rival Novak Djokovic, compatriot Carlos Alcaraz and WTA world No.1 Iga Swiatek.

As expected in his press conference, Nadal was questioned about what his plans were for the future and the 37-year-old suggested that he was not ready to commit either way.

“I’m a simple guy,” claimed the former No.1. “For me the feeling of coming back home with the personal satisfaction to do all that’s in my hands to make things work well, give myself everything, that’s the only way I understand my life.”

He continued, “That’s why I’m not saying I’m retiring today. In the end it’s about not having the feeling in one year or one year and a half that I didn’t give myself a real chance, because [as soon as] I started to become a little healthier I stopped.

“In terms of what’s the force driving me, I’m a simple guy, I enjoy what I do. I am passionate about sport, about competition, I like to practice, I like to play tennis.”

Nadal became a father for the first time back in October 2022 (to Rafael Nadal Jr), and the 22-time major winner explained how that has changed his perspective in the latter stages of his career.

“I’m in a different moment of my personal life too, travelling with my son and my wife. I’m enjoying these moments that will not come back,” explained Nadal. “If I keep enjoying what I’m doing and feel that I’m competitive and healthy enough to enjoy it, I want to keep going for a while, I don’t know how long.”

Although Nadal may not return to the French major again, he is hoping to play at the Paris Olympics later this year, where the tennis tournament is held on the grounds of Roland Garros.

“I need to see. I need to give myself a little longer to see if my level is growing, how my body is holding, and then let’s make a decision,” Nadal continued. “But give me two months to the Olympics and then let’s see if I can keep going or if I say ‘ok guys, it’s more than enough’.”

Inside the baseline…

Rafael Nadal probably played his best match since returning to the tour yesterday, and like he said did have chances to take the second set especially. However, the Spaniard was just given a brutal draw against one of the tournament favourites and would likely have beaten many of the other players in the field. If that does turn out to be Nadal’s last appearance at Roland Garros, then he did himself proud.

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Rafael Nadal losses at Roland Garros

Nadal has won more titles at a single Grand Slam tournament than anyone else in history, and we wanted to look back at his record at Roland Garros over the years:

Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

Titles: 14 (2005-2008, 2010-2014, 2017-2020 & 2022)

Win-loss record: 112-4 (97%)


  1. Robin Soderling (23) beat Nadal, 6-2 6(2)-7 6-4 7-6(2) (Fourth Round – 2009)
  2. Novak Djokovic (1) beat Nadal, 7-5 6-3 6-1 (Quarter-final – 2015)
  3. Novak Djokovic (1) beat Nadal, 3-6 6-3 7-6(4) 6-2 (Semi-final – 2021)
  4. Alexander Zverev (4) beat Nadal, 6-3 7-6(5) 6-3 (First Round – 2024)

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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.