Published On: Sat, May 11th, 2024
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Rafael Nadal makes alarming French Open confession after defeat | Tennis | Sport


Rafael Nadal has issued a worrying statement after being knocked out of the Italian Open by Hubert Hurkacz, in what was his final appearance in the tournament. On what proved to be an emotional day, the Spaniard exited after a straight sets defeat to the Polish player.

Nadal went down 6-1 6-3 on another tough day as he edges ever closer to retirement following persistent injuries of late. There is hope he will enjoy a special swansong at the French Open, a Grand Slam he has dominated down the years having won it an astonishing 14 times.

However, in the aftermath of his defeat, the tennis icon issued a worrying message to his fans ahead of Roland Garros. Speaking in his post-match press conference, he said: “Now is two ways. Probably one is to say, Okay, I am not ready, I am not playing enough well.

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

Nadal will now face a race against time to make sure he is fully fit and ready to play at his beloved French Open, which begins on Monday, May 20.

On what proved to be a very difficult afternoon for Nadal, he had no answers to Hurkacz’s brilliance, who won in Rome for the first time in four years. And speaking after his brilliant victory, the Pole made sure to hail his rival for all he has done for the sport.

During his on-court speech, Hurkacz said: “Playing Rafa is something special. It’s just different. Especially on clay, which he’s dominated the past 20 years. No one will ever have a record like him. He’s bigger than the sport.”

Straight after both players walked off court, thousands of fans flocked to the centre court to wave goodbye to Nadal in Rome in what was a very emotional moment as the Italian Open waved goodybe to the great.



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