Rafael Nadal - Roland Garros 2024

Rafael Nadal reveals that he is ‘finding the pleasure of playing again’

Rafael Nadal has spoken about his future in the sport, revealing the reasons why he did not want a farewell ceremony at Roland Garros this year.

Nadal suffered his earliest ever loss at the Paris major this year, being defeated in the first round by eventual runner-up Alexander Zverev.

Despite this, the Spaniard appears more positive than he has done in recent months about his fitness, “I feel like I’m finding the pleasure of playing again, having fun.

“I want to give myself a chance to see if my physique remains at this level or if it is only a temporary moment and that it starts to go wrong again. I give myself time to see how I will feel after the Olympic Games and then we will see what will happen, what decisions I will make.”

Nadal has recently decided to withdraw from Wimbledon, in a bid to prioritise the Olympics with the tennis event also being held on the grounds of Roland Garros.

There was a farewell ceremony originally planned for Nadal in Paris this year, but tournament director Amelie Mauresmo announced that they made a U-turn upon the Mallorcan’s request.

And Nadal has explained why he did not want this ceremony when speaking to L’Equipe, “At first, I said, ‘OK, let’s go!’ But at the last minute I said I didn’t want it, that’s the truth. It would have bothered me to announce that it was the last time I was playing the tournament, knowing that I did not have the opportunity to prepare as I would have liked.”

He continued, “And nothing prevents them from waiting a year. If the tribute takes place and I am retired, I will go there as a retiree. And if I still play, I will obviously be present. I preferred not to live with the idea that they had to pay tribute to me, because it was practically forcing me not to play here again and I was not ready at that time.”

Although Nadal’s long-term future is not yet clear, we do know that he will return to the matchcourt at the ATP 250 tournament in Bastad beginning on Monday 15th July.

Inside the baseline…

Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros this year is similar to the situation that Wimbledon have with Andy Murray, not actually knowing whether a tournament legend will return again. However, like Nadal said they can still have a ceremony next year even if he is not an active player anymore. There are positive signs for the Spaniard though, who will be believing that he can medal once again at the Olympics this year on his favourite surface.

READ NEXT: Wimbledon confirm they are ‘ready’ for Andy Murray farewell

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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.