Rafael Nadal - Roland Garros 2022

Rafael Nadal ‘leaning towards’ playing Roland Garros despite heavy defeat

Rafael Nadal has spoken about his prospects of playing Roland Garros, after the Spaniard suffered his earliest exit in Rome since 2008.

Nadal was beaten in the second round of the Italian Open by seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz, 1-6 3-6, with the 37-year-old admitting that he now has doubts about his game.

“Tough day for me in all ways because I felt more ready than what I showed,” said Nadal. “I am a little bit more unpredictable today, not playing enough for the last two years. Too many doubts.”

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has openly confessed that it could be the final year of his career, but did not want to confirm whether it was his final appearance in Rome.

“I don’t know if this is going to be the last time I play here or not,” admitted the 10-time Italian Open winner. “There is much more chance that today is the last one, but I am not a guy that makes decisions in a hot moment, in tough moments. I am not 100% sure, probably 98% but I will not say 100% when it is not 100%.”

Nadal’s next scheduled tournament is Roland Garros, where he is a record 14-time singles champion, and while the former world No.1 did not want to confirm his participation, the Mallorcan suggested that he is likely to be playing at the Paris major.

“One is to say, ‘OK, I am not ready, I am not playing well enough.’ Another is to accept how I am today and work the proper way to try to be in a different way in two weeks,” explained Nadal.

He continued, “The time has come to make a decision, in case I might not play Roland-Garros. If I have to say which side I lean towards, it’s to try to play it and give my best.

“Physically I have some issues, but probably not enough yet to say not playing in the most important event of my tennis career.”

The main draw of Roland Garros begins on Sunday 26th May, with Nadal set to make his 19th appearance at the tournament.

Inside the baseline…

It was a convincing defeat for Rafael Nadal, who played a very impressive Hubert Hurkacz in the second round of the Italian Open. Nadal will give absolutely everything at what could be his final Roland Garros tournament in two weeks time, but it will be a big challenge for the Spaniard considering that it will be the first time he has played best-of-five set matches since the 2023 Australian Open, when he suffered a major psoas tear. Another hurdle for Nadal is that he is unseeded, meaning that the Spaniard can play anyone in the first round – including rival Novak Djokovic!

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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.