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Photo: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters via CNN Newsource

Nadal unsure of participation in French Open

May 11, 2024
Photo: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters via CNN Newsource

(CNN) — Rafael Nadal said he is unsure whether he will be able to play at the French Open for likely the final time later this month, after he was defeated in the second round of the Italian Open by Hubert Hurkacz on Saturday.

“The decision (to appear at the French Open) as you can imagine, is not clear in my mind today,” the 22-time grand slam winner said afterwards, according to the ATP Tour.

“But if I have to say what’s my feeling and if my mind is closer one way or the other way, I’m going to say I will be in Roland Garros and try my best.”

Nadal succumbed to a 6-1 6-3 defeat against world No. 9 Hurkacz in Rome, in what was likely his last appearance at a tournament he has won a record 10 times. He is still struggling with the injuries that have derailed his comeback after undergoing hip surgery last season.

He said last May that 2024 will likely be his last year on tour, and so the upcoming French Open represents possibly his last chance to play at a tournament with which he will forever be associated, and which he dominated during his heyday.

The 37-year-old Spaniard accumulated a record 14 titles at Roland Garros, the most recent coming in 2022, but he was forced to withdraw last year due to injury before the tournament began, missing it for the first time since he made his debut in 2005.

Nadal told reporters on Saturday that there were two ways for him to approach this year’s French Open.

“Probably one is to say, ‘Okay, I am not ready, I am not playing well enough.’ Then is the moment to take a decision in terms of not playing Roland Garros. Another is to accept how I am today and work the proper way to try to be in a different way in two weeks,” he said, according to the ATP.

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

“Let’s see what’s going on, how I feel myself mentally tomorrow, after tomorrow, and in one week. If I feel ready, I’m going to try to be there and fight for the things that I have been fighting the last 15 years, even if now it seems impossible.”

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