Nadal unclear on playing French Open

The 22-time Grand Slam winner is contemplating retreat after the Italian Open exit

REUTERS May 11, 2024
SPENT: Spain's Rafael Nadal waves to the fans after the press conference after his Italian Open round of 64 match against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz. PHOTO: REUTERS


Rafa Nadal said he was still in two minds about whether he will play in the French Open starting this month after he was eliminated from the Italian Open in straight sets by seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz on Saturday.

Poland's Hurkacz beat Nadal 6-1 6-3 in the second round to end the Spaniard's run at the tournament he has won a record 10 times, his last title coming in 2021.

Nadal had come through a three-set win over Zizou Bergs on Thursday but was broken four times by Hurkacz before he bowed out in 93 minutes.

The 37-year-old Spaniard, who has said he expects to retire after this season, spent most of last year nursing a hip issue that required surgery, before a muscle tear in Brisbane stalled his comeback in January.

Nadal has won the French Open a record 14 times but competing at his favourite Grand Slam is still not certain for the 22-times Grand Slam winner.

"You can see today on the court how difficult is," Nadal told reporters. "Probably one is to say, 'Okay, I'm not ready, I'm not playing well'.

Then it's the moment to take a decision in terms of not playing Roland Garros. Another is accept how I am today and work the proper way to try to be in a different way in two weeks.

"The decision, as you can imagine, is not clear in my mind today. 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 'Be in Roland Garros and try my best'.

"Physically, I have some issues, but not probably yet enough to say not playing in the most important event of my tennis career." The French Open begins on May 26.


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