Rafael Nadal 'leaning towards' playing at French Open despite ...

28 days ago
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has admitted that he is “leaning towards" playing at the French Open in what is “the most important event" of his tennis career, despite an ongoing battle with his fitness.

Nadal has not featured at a major tournament since the Australian Open in 2023 when he was forced to retire in the second round through injury.

Following the defeat on Saturday, Nadal addressed the “physical issues” that have been troubling him and which could force the 37-year-old to miss the second Grand Slam of the season.

“Tough day for me in all ways because I felt more ready than what I showed,” Nadal said after his Italian Open exit.

“I am a little bit more unpredictable today, not playing enough for the last two years. Too many doubts.”

On the French Open, he added: “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.

“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 Spaniard admitted that Saturday’s defeat could be his last appearance in Rome.

“I don’t know if this is going to be the last time I play here or not,” Nadal said about the Italian Open, which he has won 10 times.

“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%.”

On the possibility of teaming up with compatriot Carlos Alcaraz at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris this summer, Nadal said it “would be difficult” to find the time to practice together.

“It looks difficult, I don’t know yet,” he admitted. “He got injured in Madrid, I was not in good enough physical condition to play before and it looks difficult.

“There aren’t a lot of tournaments [to play doubles] before the Olympics, only Roland-Garros and that will not be the case.”

The main draw at Roland-Garros begins on Saturday, May 26 and will be shown live on Eurosport and discovery+.

Stream top tennis action, including the 2024 French Open, live on discovery+, the Eurosport app and at eurosport.com

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